We all value our home products, many which are energy dependent. So, it’s in consumers best interests to get more educated about the true costs of Governor Murphy’s proposed Energy Master Plan (EMP), especially because their household budgets are about to take a sizable hit. The huge cost effect is real and will happen if residents don’t speak up.
Cost estimates peg the plan’s financial impact at $52,500 per resident or $210,000 for an average family of four. New Jersey is dubiously known for its high cost of living and excessive taxes so residents can ill afford an additional financial burden of such magnitude.
On paper, the plan is a renewable energy utopia devoid of economic-based reality. It describes a wonderland of unlimited, renewable power heavily dependent on electric vehicles, windmills, and solar panels.
To be successful, the transition away from carbon fuels to more sustainable alternatives should be enticed and match the situation on the ground. Consumers and businesses are open to predominantly renewable energy sources, but it should happen incrementally, driven by better and more affordable technology, and the natural progression of the marketplace.
Disruptive change cannot be mandated or forced prematurely by headstrong bureaucrats under a dome. Transformation will only occur organically, when the time is right, and when the economics match reality.
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Frankly, the governor’s plan is no plan at all. It is an environmental manifest, a demand on every individual, family, and employer in the state. The mandated message is clear: “You must do …, you will do …, you have no say in the matter.”
The proposed energy plan and its implementation would create more problems than solutions, more questions than answers. And the biggest open question: How much will it cost?
To this basic question, the governor isn’t providing an answer. Almost two full years since the Administration first introduced the plan, they have yet to release cost estimates. One can readily surmise the delay has to do with the enormous financial toll this plan will have on every property owner, renter, business, school, hospital, farm and individual in this state.
While the governor has refused to put a price tag on this debacle, others have crunched the numbers. The picture it paints isn’t pretty and certainly not affordable.
Affordable Energy for New Jersey (AENJ), a coalition of some of the most influential labor and business groups in the state, estimates taxpayers will be on the hook for $525 billion in new costs. Even in a state known for some of the highest taxes in the nation, the total is stunning. No wonder the governor and his administration lack the openness to discuss the plan’s costs.
The sad reality is the fiscal drain imposed by the governor’s proposed energy plan will only exacerbate our tax burden as costs, both direct and indirect, mount.
Electric bills are calculated to skyrocket by $155 billion, and meeting the mandate for electric vehicles could exceed $176 billion, AENJ estimates.
The governor’s plan to restrict the use of natural gas and fuel oil, and mandate the reliance on electricity in homes, apartments and commercial buildings would require the installation of new heating units, water heaters and appliances, as well as the upgrade of electric services. The cost estimate of $20,000 per household to convert to electric heat may be conservative.
The Consumer Energy Alliance — the leading U.S. consumer advocate in support of affordable, reliable energy for working families, seniors, and businesses — reported that New Jersey residents using natural gas saved more than $21 billion in the last 15 years. The average family is paying almost $900 less per year than 2008, PSE&G says.
With carbon emissions at their lowest level in 33 years, according to federal environmental data, and the ongoing effort by the natural gas, propane, and fuel oil industries to transition to low or no carbon output, the governor’s obsession with full electrification is even more baffling.
New Jersey would be best served by an “all of the above” energy policy that encourages a hearty mix of various energy sources without unnecessary limitation. Such a policy would also be less strenuous on our electric grid.
The firm truth is the governor’s proposed EMP is overly aggressive and simply not grounded in economic reality. The giant leaps into the future, as mandated by the plan, exceed the capabilities of electric production and renewable power such as solar and wind capacity, especially considering that, at present, around 90 percent of energy production in NJ comes from just two sources – nuclear power and natural gas.
The draft EMP ignores the efficiency and affordability of the existing infrastructure and efforts underway to decarbonize from green hydrogen to Bioheat.
Most troubling, the governor’s plan disregards the impact of a significantly burdensome cost increase on families’ budgets. So let’s just call it what it is – a massive ‘green’ energy tax on every man, woman, and child in the state.
It’s time for Governor Murphy to leave wonderland behind. New Jersey can enact a comprehensive, “all of the above” energy policy that is truly attainable, affordable, and still be environmentally conscious. It can only be achieved if we operate in reality.
State Senator Steve Oroho represents New Jersey’s 24th Legislative District, which includes Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris counties. Senator Oroho currently serves as the Senate Republican Budget Officer and is the incoming Senate Minority Leader.