NJBIA submitted detailed comments on the draft Energy Master Plan (EMP). We were supportive of the EMP’s intent to meet the carbon reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act and Governor Murphy’s call for 100% clean energy (defined as carbon neutral) as well as the need to enhance our portfolio of wind and solar sources of energy. However, our comments also pointed out that too much reliance from intermittent renewables could cause grid instability and significantly increased costs. For that reason NJBIA suggested that these intermittent sources of electricity generation be limited to around 50% (still a substantial increase) with the rest of the generation coming from both nuclear and natural gas, sources of energy that are not impacted by a lack of wind or sun.
Our comments also reiterated our concerns with the EMP public process. While the public comment period for the EMP closed on September 12, the Integrated Energy Planning (IEP) process, a modeling exercise that will identify the strategies to be employed to implement the EMP, is still continuing. Despite the stated influence the IEP will have on the EMP, the public and business community did not have the ability to inform its EMP comments based on the results of the IEP process. Given the linkage between these two processes, NJBIA called for the extension of the EMP comment period until after the IEP process is complete and its findings made known. While we were assured we would be given the ability to send in additional comments after the IEP is complete, this “option” is not the same as an open public process. It is also concerning that the IEP process will not likely end until mid- to late October and the final EMP is scheduled to be adopted in December. There is not enough time for serious comments to be made and consideration of those comments.
Exacerbating our concerns is the fact that the consultant performing the modeling exercise of the IEP is the Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI just came out with two reports which clearly indicates their bias against natural gas in favor of intermittent sources of energy. While we are still reviewing these studies, they clearly indicate a predetermined outcome of the IEP, and thus EMP, processes despite the input of stakeholders.
NJBIA will continue to engage in these matters and seek an energy future that reduces carbon emissions in a manner that results in energy that is affordable, abundant, and reliable.