Senator Declan O’Scanlon expressed major concern regarding the new Energy Master Plan (EMP) released today by Governor Phil Murphy.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon expressed major concern regarding today’s release of Gov. Phil Murphy’s new Energy Master Plan, citing significant increased costs for New Jersey residents. (SenateNJ.com)
“I am a firm believer in the age old adage that one needs to learn to walk before running,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “The EMP, with the best of intentions for New Jersey residents, fails to consider this wisdom. The EMP fails to consider the impacts on the ratepayer. It is simply too much too soon.”
On average, New Jersey residents pay $3,124 annually to meet their current energy needs. This is more than neighboring New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
“Making New Jersey more affordable to live in needs to be the number one goal of this government. The costs to implement the EMP will be usurious for the average ratepayer here in New Jersey,” added O’Scanlon. “The EMP seeks to reduce the use of clean and abundant natural gas by 80 percent to achieve its goals by 2050. This has the potential to crush New Jersey ratepayers.”
Natural gas currently provides over half the electricity in New Jersey. Nationally, natural gas consumption in the residential sector only accounts for 4 percent of the overall U.S greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 75 percent of New Jersey homes are heated by natural gas. On average, households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save $875 annually compared to households that use electricity for those appliances.
“The EMP is relying on technologies that are not yet here. Until battery storage technologies are available for mass electrification, the intermittent nature of wind and solar generation can only be addressed with continued access to inexpensive natural gas. Electric heat pumps are also not cheap to purchase, install, maintain, and operate,” O’Scanlon said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that the annual cost of operating electric air source heat pump is 66% higher than a high efficiency natural gas furnace. Installation costs for an electric heat pump are $3000 more than installation costs for a high-efficiency natural gas furnace. Some estimates for converting a natural gas home to an electric heat pump household are as high as $20,428 dollars for a 1,502 square foot home — just to purchase and install that equipment.
“The Rutgers Energy Institute is in the process of composing a study that considers the EMP’s economic impact on ratepayers; something the Governor’s plan does not take into account. Why was this plan rushed before this study was made available? Why was the notice and comment period ended before the BPU finished their cost analysis? Multiple legislators, including myself asked this question. The EMP risks dismantling our natural gas infrastructure without any affordable and practical alternatives,” O’Scanlon stated.