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NJBIA on Monday testified against legislation that would codify into law the governor’s executive order that requires New Jersey to transition to zero-emission power in 11 years, saying it is an unrealistic goal that would drive up energy costs. 

NJBIA Deputy Chief Government Affairs Officer Ray Cantor told a Senate committee the bill setting clean energy targets for the next decade should not be acted upon during a rushed legislative lame duck session that ends in six weeks. Especially, he said, since costs are not established and there will be no environmental benefit.  

“These are targets we believe to be unrealistic and potentially harmful,” Cantor said in his testimony submitted to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. 

After listening to several hours of testimony from NJBIA and dozens of other stakeholders, the committee postponed action on S-2978, until Dec. 18, saying the bill needed more work.

“We listened and think there are some fixes that are needed,” said Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chairman Bob Smith (D-17) before concluding the meeting.

During his testimony opposing the bill, Cantor said it was a fundamental principle of energy policy that energy be both affordable and reliable. 

“We are concerned that this bill does not adequately adhere to these principles, as the end result will be more expensive energy for our residents and businesses without any significant benefit to our environment,” Cantor said. 

In codifying Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order on the transition to zero-emission power, the bill requires that suppliers provide increasing amounts of electricity from renewable energy sources each year leading up to 2035.  Cantor said this mandate was unrealistic. 

“Government mandates, no matter how well intentioned, cannot overcome economic realities and realities on the ground,” Cantor said.   

“Rather than advancing another unachievable mandate, a mandate that will have real-world, negative consequences, we should take time to better plan, allow technologies to emerge, and allow the marketplace, not government, to select our energy mix of the future,” Cantor said.  

“Clean sources of energy will be our future,” Cantor said. “The question is not if, but how and when. But a government mandate may actually be counterproductive by retarding innovation and spending money in unproductive ways.” 

Cantor said the legislation will also facilitate the move of solar and wind projects to other states, and to have New Jersey ratepayers pay for those projects.   

“This is not good public policy and it’s not good for New Jersey workers or the economy,” he said.   

“Moreover, this bill will not reduce one molecule of carbon. Existing fossil fuel plants in New Jersey or throughout the PJM Interconnection will continue to operate and sell power into the grid, power that will be used by New Jersey consumers. The “clean” power built in other states will never reach New Jersey, nor will the economic benefits.”  

To see Cantor’s full comments, go here.