In a recent opinion piece, Governor Murphy’s Director of Climate Action and the Green Economy, Jane Cohen, waxed poetic about all of the federal government subsidies that will lead to a utopian green energy economy for the state, necessitating a complete redo of the 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP). Her title alone should tell you how unserious these efforts are.
Ms. Cohen claims that the state abandoned the previous EMP because the state is “moving forward aggressively” on its green energy goals. It’s certainly moving aggressively to kill whales and raise energy prices, but other than that, the state has accomplished little since the first EMP was released.
She also claimed Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine somehow – she never explains how – requires a complete revision of the EMP. She also said that the trillions of dollars of federal largesse showering down from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the comically named Inflation Reduction Act, both of which have helped trigger inflation not seen in 40 years, will help New Jerseyans, especially low-income ones.
This is economic and environmental nonsense. AENJ recently released a report estimating the cost of meeting the state’s clean energy goals would cost $1.4 trillion between now and 2050. That’s over $5,000 each for every individual in the state. AENJ also released the underlying data and analysis for that estimate. No one in the Murphy Administration, including Ms. Cohen, has challenged our cost estimate.
Her claim boils down to, “everyone else will pay for New Jersey’s green energy fantasy,” as if money will rain down on the state like manna from Heaven. Except lots of other states are saying the same thing. So, New Jerseyans, through their taxes, as well as soaring prices for food, shelter, and everything else, will pay.
The “Ratepayer Impact Study” she referenced, which was prepared by the Brattle Group (a Massachusetts-based consulting firm) is widely regarded as a complete joke. It estimated electricity and natural gas prices ratepayers would face for just one year: 2030. I was asked by AENJ to review the study and found it to be riddled with errors. But worry not, state taxpayers only shelled out over $500,000 for the Brattle study.
The new EMP will be prepared by the Rocky Mountain Institute, which advocates for complete electrification. RMI is behind the recent, and thoroughly debunked claim, that your gas stove causes asthma and should be banned. (And, yes, the US government is still looking to ban gas stoves, this time with a backdoor mandate to improve their energy efficiency to a level that no manufacturer can meet.)
The new EMP, whenever it is released, will surely include all of the micromanagement the previous one contained. State officials like Ms. Cohen want to control where you live, what you drive and how far you can travel, and even what you eat (bugs!).
Will the EMP save the world from climate change? Nope. New Jersey’s annual greenhouse gas emissions (around 100 million tons) represent one day’s worth of world carbon emissions, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Over the last decade, emissions in the developing world, notably China and India, have increased by an average of over 400 million tons per year. And those countries are building hundreds of new coal-fired power plants. Nothing New Jersey does will have any impact on climate.
The impact the EMP will have is on your wallet and the state economy. It will drive up energy prices and causing businesses to relocate out-of-state, taking thousands of jobs with them. The only beneficiaries will be the politically-connected cronies who profit from all of the largesse.
But perhaps that’s the real green energy-economic utopia Ms. Cohen is talking about.
Jonathan A. Lesser, PhD is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute and president of Continental Economics; he boasts 30+ years of experience working for regulated utilities and 20+ years in the energy industry as a consultant, and Dr. Lesser has testified in front of numerous regulatory and legislative bodies including the U.S. Congress.