How much will it cost you?
New Jersey’s energy master plan, called EMP, calls for the state to transition to 100% clean energy by 2050 using wind and solar power while moving away from natural gas and other types of sources energy sources that contribute to climate change.
Since Governor Phil Murphy unveiled the state’s EMP in 2020, critics have loudly complained that there has been no full review or discussion of what residential and commercial customers will end up with. pay to move to a 100% clean energy economy within years. ahead.
At a meeting of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday, the ratepayer impact study for the energy master plan was presented and the BPU voted to accept the contents of the report, but many questions remain.
How much are we talking about?
BPU Chairman Joe Fiordaliso said that while the impact study presents a roadmap for future energy costs, “this is such a long-term plan that it is very difficult to determine the exact amount it will cost each taxpayer”.
He said that as clean energy programs evolve, “the costs in many cases will go down, and it’s very, very difficult to put an exact amount on what it’s going to cost each individual ratepayer.”
He pointed out that New Jersey would receive federal funding for different clean energy programs, but “we don’t know what that amount is, we don’t know how much New Jersey is going to get.”
It depends on what you buy
According to BPU executive policy adviser Abe Silverman, trying to understand the impact of New Jersey’s energy master plan on you will depend on whether you make capital investments in clean energy technology, such as the buying an electric vehicle, installing solar panels or converting your home to natural energy. gas to electric.
He said the impact study compared utility bills in 2030 to 2020 rates for low- and high-income residents, small and large businesses, and “this is a increase of about 10-20% for customers who stay at the status quo, and the potential for a decline of about 10-20% for customers who make the investments.
During the meeting, BPU economist Ben Witherell pointed out that the cost of capital investments for items such as energy-efficient appliances, heating, electric vehicles and residential rooftop solar systems were not not included in the impact statement because they are “not a requirement or mandate for state energy policies and are therefore voluntary and do not directly impact customer utility rates. »
Silverman said the report doesn’t take into account how much Jersey residents will have to spend on clean energy technology investments because “it’s very hard to say how much these things are going to cost in the future. especially as the state deploys its own incentive policies and obviously the federal government, through the Inflation Reduction Act, deploys its policies.
Look both sides
Fiordaliso noted “you have to look at both sides of the balance sheet, are there costs, yes, are there economic benefits, absolutely.”
He added: “What is the price to pay if we do nothing, what is the price, future generations will know if we do nothing.”
Silverman noted that additional reports will be released in the future on specific clean energy costs and incentive programs.
According to the Affordable Energy for New Jersey, it will cost more than $500 billion to meet the Murphy administration’s goal of 50% clean energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
The group says that while saving 100% clean energy will eventually reduce costs, Jersey’s EMP would essentially require Garden State residents to fully electrify their homes and businesses and get an electric vehicle, which could cost a family of 4 over $200,000.
Fiordaliso said those projections are wrong.
“There are critics who don’t believe in climate change, who put things on social media that are going to scare the general public. Our intention is to make sure we have a clean environment for future generations,” he said. -he declares.
Legislation A2937 has been introduced by Assembly Member Hal Wirths, R-Sussex, which would require a series of public hearings on the costs and benefits of switching to electric heating systems.
A measure, S4133, which prohibits the state from mandating the use of electric heating systems has already been passed by the New Jersey State Senate.
Environmental officials, including Doug O’Malley, New Jersey’s chief environmental officer, have argued that the cost of not transitioning to a clean energy economy will lead to increased costs and pollution levels in the future. closer due to the effects of climate change.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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