Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho, R-24th District, introduced legislation March 8 that he says would ensure that the Garden State will be powered by reliable, diverse, and affordable energy sources.
Oroho, who recently announced he will retire from the Senate and not seek re-election this year, said Senate Bill 3684 is a common-sense alternative to what he describes as Gov. Phil Murphy’s “extreme green energy plan,” which he believes will make New Jerseyans dependent on the most unreliable and expensive sources of energy.
“We’re proposing a plan that would protect consumers from higher bills and ensure they have access to heat, power, and transportation when they need it,” Oroho explained. “Our plan recognizes that it’s important for consumers to have affordable energy choices, redundance for emergencies, and protections for the significant investments they’ve already made in their homes and businesses.”
Oroho said that his plan would protect the state’s energy independence; diversity of energy sources; consumer choice; and transparency, affordability and reliability.
The legislation would require the state’s Energy Master Plan to consider:
It will also limit intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, to 50% of the state’s energy generation portfolio.
As NJBIZ reported last month, Murphy expanded on and accelerated his already ambitious clean energy goals by announcing six new steps to combat climate change, including a new target of 100% clean energy by 2035, all new car sales to be electric by 2035, and targeting installation of zero-carbon emission space heating and cooling systems to make 10% of all low-to-moderate income properties electrification-ready by 2030.
Critics and opponents said the updated goals are unrealistic, unfeasible and too expensive. Earlier this year, Murphy pushed back the release of the next Energy Master Plan until 2024.
One of critics’ main contentions of the governor’s clean energy goals surrounds the electrification of mechanical systems and appliances, such as boilers, furnaces, water heaters and stoves, and what kind of cost, process or potential mandates that would entail for homeowners and businesses.
“After many months of stakeholder conversations and policy planning, we are ready to take the next six big steps in our fight against climate change,” said Murphy last month. “Now, let me make one thing perfectly clear at the outset before the right-wing meme-makers go off. No one is coming for anyone’s gas stove. No one is walking into anyone’s kitchen. No one is going to be forced to do anything, in any way.”
In its effort to curb emissions from aging natural gas infrastructure, PSE&G filed for a three-year, $2.54 billion extension of its Gas System Modernization Program (GSMP) with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Click here to read the story.
Just this week, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities voted to approve a third solicitation for more offshore wind projects in addition to the three currently in the works off the coast of the Garden State.
Oroho said that Superstorm Sandy taught many lessons about power emergencies and how long it can take to replace downed power lines, which emphasizes the need for reliability.
“Can you imagine how much harder our recovery would have been if people didn’t have gas stoves, gas fireplaces, and gas generators,” Oroho asked. “If we were all reliant on EVs, nobody would have been able to charge their cars to go to work or to pick up groceries for their families.”
He also pointed to places like California where people were told not to charge their cars because the grid was too fragile on hot days.
“Gov. Murphy has said he wants to turn New Jersey into the California of the East Coast, but we don’t need to copy their mistakes,” said Oroho. “Our plan shows that you don’t need to go to extremes to protect New Jerseyans and the mix of affordable, reliable energy they need access to every single day.”l