The New Jersey Business & Industry Association opposes legislation before the Senate today that could lead to higher energy costs for businesses and consumers by requiring New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The bill, S-3059 (Sweeney, D-3; Smith, D-17) / A-4701 (Eustace, D-38; Zwicker, D-16) is unnecessary because New Jersey’s energy generator sector is already among the cleanest in the nation, said Sara Bluhm, NJBIA vice president for Environment & Energy. New Jersey is also by far the cleanest energy generator in PJM, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states, including New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.

“New Jersey does not need RGGI,” Bluhm said. “We are a leader in our own right in curbing emissions and producing clean power. The state should not penalize the energy generation sector for their good work by adding additional compliance costs.”

Bluhm said New Jersey is already helping lower PJM’s CO2 emissions by building new baseload Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) plants, which produce two to three times less C02 emissions than old coal-fired power plants in PJM.

Today, New Jersey’s electric generation plants are tied for 2nd in the nation for lowest sulfur dioxide (S02) emission rates; are 10th for lowest carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates; and tied for first in the nation for lowest nitrogen oxide (N02) emission rates, Bluhm said.

New Jersey withdrew from RGGI six years ago. However, during the time the state participated in RGGI, much of the funds received through the program for clean-energy initiatives were diverted to the state’s general fund, instead of used for their intended purpose, Bluhm said.