NJ Renewable Energy Funds Not Going Towards Renewable Energy
According to industry advocates and environmentalists, the state of New Jersey has been reallocating funds from energy ratepayers for clean-energy and renewable energy efforts to other non-related initiatives.
The state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) discovered that the Christie administration was preparing to reallocate an additional $10 million in clean-energy funds to make up for a shortfall in next year’s state budget. If so, the total amount of diverted clean-energy funds in 2014 would total $160 million. Since the beginning of the Christie administration, $800 million has been diverted to other various state initiatives.
While New Jersey’s budgeting issues are certainly important to work out, one of the largest problems with the reallocation of funds lies in the fact that ratepayers, including homes and businesses, are the ones footing the bill for clean and renewable energy efforts. Some industry advocates claim that since the funds aren’t being used for what they are supposed to, the extra charges for clean energy on customer bills are essentially a ‘hidden tax’.
More importantly to the environment, New Jersey has started to lack in its efforts to promote cleaner energy generation. In a state with some of the highest electricity costs in the nation, the implementation of alternative sources of energy is imperative in order to keep up with rising demand. The cost of New Jersey’s clean-energy efforts, according to plan, are expected to run into the billions of dollars over the next decade or so.
Clean-energy and energy efficiency efforts should be a top priority of policy makers, according to many industry advocates. Energy efficiency can reduce gas and electric bills and promote the development of thousands of jobs. Importantly to our nation’s future, it can curb the air pollution that contributes to global climate change, as well as health problems from emissions that cause ground-level smog.