Why is it that some of the most vocal proponents of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan fall silent when the talk turns to how much the initiative will cost?
For the past 650-plus days, Affordable Energy for New Jersey has been calling for greater transparency around the costs related to New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan. Instead of joining us in calling for transparency, environmentalist groups have resorted to calling us names.
The facts are very clear. New Jersey requires energy, and residents currently get 90% of that energy from two sources — clean natural gas and nuclear. Transitioning from them will require a clear plan with checks and balances in place to avoid energy inflation and decreased reliability. But it has been more than 650 days since the Murphy administration introduced the Energy Master Plan and began its breakneck-paced implementation without any deviation. Yet, while supporters of this all-or-nothing approach speak about moral imperatives and use fear tactics, they continue to avoid these simple questions:
- How much will the Energy Master Plan cost?
- Will these proposals result in more reliable and dependable energy?
- How does this plan address our energy security in the face of increasing frequency and intensity of storms?
Why does this administration continue to hide the cost from the public?
Affordable Energy New Jersey joined the Board of Public Utilities meeting on Sept. 28 to ask those very questions. We didn’t receive answers then, and we continue to get no answers.
Yet, lobbyists who advocate for energy policies that place costly mandates on New Jersey families continue to push their agenda — and attack anyone who even questions how sound those policies truly are. One such cost-denier, which calls itself ReThink Energy, did exactly that when AENJ publicly questioned the BPU.
Of course, ReThink Energy has done little to assuage working-class New Jerseyans’ concerns that Trenton’s Energy Master Plan will result in more expensive and less reliable energy like they’ve seen in California, Texas, the United Kingdom, Germany and elsewhere. Recently, at a speech to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso admitted, “We talk about the expense of clean energy, and I’m not here to tell you it’s not expensive. It is.”
Yet, nowhere in the commentary of our critics do they mention the cost of anything. There’s not a dollar sign to be found anywhere in the articles and opinion pieces you read. It’s time to stop pretending that cost doesn’t matter.
Turbines cost money. Solar panels cost money. Transmission lines cost money. Heat pumps cost money. Electric vehicles cost money. EV charging stations cost money. Electricity costs money. Making this transition will cost an astronomical amount of money. Our detailed analysis has calculated that New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan will cost around $210,000 for the average family of four. Other studies have pegged the number at $800 billion for the state of New Jersey alone.
Let us be clear, AENJ believes that climate change is real and must be addressed. We also believe that our energy needs are growing and must be met with the affordable, reliable and abundant resources we have available to us. These are not competing ideas, but are ones that exist simultaneously. In short, we do not believe in choosing winners and losers when it comes to energy policy. Like a healthy financial portfolio, our state and national energy portfolio must be diverse.
ReThink Energy NJ’s own survey from earlier this year shows the importance of affordable energy: “When asked about their preferences, more than half of voters (57%) believe that natural gas is important in keeping energy costs low as we transition to renewable energy…” And this number is growing.
We invite the environmental lobby and their associates, who attack anyone who even questions the wisdom of the state’s Energy Master Plan, to focus their advocacy efforts where they belong — on the Board of Public Utilities, which continues to withhold the cost and feasibility of its proposals from the public.