Yet Another Raid on the Clean Energy Fund…Hypocrisy in Action

Tom Moran hit the nail on the head in his April 28 Star Ledger Editorial on the Governor’s continuing and relentless raids of the Clean Energy Fund. Since his election, the Governor has diverted more than $700 million from the fund to the general budget. If this year’s diversion is made, the total will top $1 billion. These diversions have been made despite his promises that this would not happen.

Ok, this is not a political piece so I will leave broken political promises out of the story. However, this type of behavior does show that either this administration is ignorant about energy conservation, or indifferent. Either is a disservice to the New Jersey citizens whom they serve. More importantly, it shows an arrogance that is troubling.

In September 2012, a letter was sent to the BPU from the USGBCNJ Chapter outlining the gross illogic of the then proposed diversion of monies. With credit to Mr. William Amann, PE, I note the following;

“Every energy expert, … knows that the cheapest kilowatt is the one that is never used. Energy efficiency is by far the cheapest and best solution to our energy problems. Efficiency is the best and foremost step in solving our problems with power plant capacity, pollution reduction, and grid congestion. It simply does not make economic sense to continue wasting energy.

If we were to reduce this fund from $651 million, as proposed last December, to $339 million, we will seriously set back this state’s efforts to reduce energy use and to promote sustainability. It is hasty and not in the best interest of this state to remove essential funding from these energy focused incentives when they so greatly assist the people of New Jersey.

The effects of this proposed budget cut are undeniable. In an era when New Jersey has the opportunity to become a leader in energy conservation, we ask the Board of Public Utilities to overlook the short term convenience of reallocating this funding and to instead see the great and long term economic and energy stabilizing benefits of the New Jersey Clean Energy Fund. “

You would think that the administration would realize the importance of energy conservation as one of the tools in maintaining a reliable energy grid. Conservation strategies help to reduce demand, thus reduce stress on the grid.

Energy Conservation and the Power Grid

Mr. Moran notes that New Jersey was in the top ten on energy conservation prior to the Governor’s election. We are now somewhere in the middle. This is simply indefensible.

On a last note…we can argue that the fund could be better administered, as I have in the past losing arguments against the raid, but this is not about a Governor punishing sloppy administration, it is simple political grandstanding for short term gain without thinking about the people that are to be served by the elected officials who owe them their best.

What a lost opportunity.

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