On November 1, NJBIA participated in a BPU webinar announcing the results of the IEP modeling performed by BPU’s consultant, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The modeling is intended to determine the least cost means to achieve the twin goals of the draft Energy Master Plan — meet the carbon reduction goals of the Global Warming Response Act and Governor Murphy’s policy goal that all electricity be produced by “clean energy” by 2050. The modeling was performed to determine the direction of the final Energy Master Plan. The results of the IEP modeling provided both good news and many lingering concerns.
On the positive side, the IEP modeling confirmed what NJBIA has been saying throughout this process, that firm capacity, supplied either by nuclear power, or gas, is necessary for grid reliability. In fact, the IEP went further and declared that relying solely on wind and solar, a position advocated by many environmental groups, is not only infeasible, but is the most costly option, by far. IEP did not call for a moratorium on natural gas facilities or hookups, at least not until possibly 2035.
RMI also stated that the results of its modeling, predicting energy supply and usage to 2050, relies on “assumptions that are highly uncertain” in that long timeframe and that the findings should only support investments to be made in the next 1 to 3 years. NJBIA has been advocating that any decisions on our future energy supplies should be based on what is viable in the near term and to revisit those decisions when the EMP is updated every 3 years.
Even given the limitations of the modeling results, there were several areas of continuing concern. First, the IEP did not adequately address cost, and did not at all address ratepayer impacts. The model focused on what they considered to be overall system “least cost” pathways to meet their energy goals, regardless of whether the results are affordable to businesses or the citizens of the state.
The IEP also relied too heavily on solar development, the continued operation of our three nuclear plants beyond 2050, and the transport of wind energy from out-of-state. NJBIA has significant concerns about whether these assumptions are feasible or would result in a reliable electrical grid.
The IEP also did not allow for flexibility in its assumptions. For instance, it only modeled either 100% electrification of the building sector, or no electrification. However, a better policy may be one that allows for flexibility, recognizing that some buildings may be appropriate to electrify while others may not be, or that some buildings may need to have dual systems. The IEP also did not allow for the possibility that it may be far more cost effective, and likely just as effective, to come close to meeting our goals rather than trying to reduce every last megawatt of a 30-year goal.
You can listen to the webinar and view the slides presented here.
NJBIA will be looking more deeply into the assumptions that underlie the IEP model and will be submitting comments. If you have any questions or comments, please submit them to Ray Cantor at firstname.lastname@example.org.