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Additional $10 Million in Clean Energy Funding Diverted

Date : Tue, 23 Apr 2013 12:44:18 -0400

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2013 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Additional $10 Million in Clean Energy Funding Diverted Today the BPU announced another $10 million is being taken by the Governor from the Clean Energy Funding to close budget gaps.The new clean energy funding proposal allocates $379 million, but the funding will actually be $181 million after the Governor diverts $162 million for the first six months.There is no funding for solar except a small amount for monitoring solar credits, and no funding for onshore wind, offshore wind or wave technology.They are taking $30 million for combined heat and power which use to be funded by RGGI and the Retail Margin Fund.Even though combined heat and power is more energy efficient, it is still fossil fuel based and funding for the program should not come from Clean Energy monies. We expect $105 million for rebates and energy efficiency.When you look at how the budget goes out to 2016 it means the budget will remain relatively flat which predicts the raids will continue.

"It is unconscionable that they keep talking money from the Clean Energy Fund.They are taking another $10 million this year bringing the total to $162 million.This budget is disingenuous because it is covering up the Governor's cuts to clean energy funds.When you look at the long term projections, these raids will continue through 2016.This is a hidden tax on the people of New Jersey that costs us jobs and hurts the environment, even more so now with the additional cuts," *said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.* These raids and cuts have come home to hurt New Jersey.We used to be in top ten nationally for energy efficiency and we have now dropped to 16^th according to ACEEE 2012 report.We were second in solar and we are now third in nation, fourth in residential and fifth in utility and we will be getting passed by states like Maryland and North Carolina.The impacts of the Governor's raids on the clean energy funds and Retail Margin funds, pulling out of RGGI and ending the Retails Margin Fund are coming home to roost.The $162 million in cuts will cost New Jersey about a thousand in direct jobs and about another thousand in indirect jobs.The Governor wants to use these diversions to help pay for his tax cut.

"We have now seen the impacts of these raids and cuts come home to roost."The Governor has cut renewable energy and energy efficiency funding.New Jersey was once a leader on these programs and we are now falling behind.Other states are gearing up to surpass, taking our jobs and economic growth to those states.We will be left with more pollution and higher utility bills," said Jeff Tittel. The amount of funding spent by utilities on energy efficiency has dropped significantly.JCP&L and Atlantic Electric offer no energy efficiency programs to their consumers.PSEG has cut its energy efficiency program more than 60% from $104 million to $39 million.It has also dropped in the gas sector except for New Jersey Natural Resources. The amount of energy savings remains constant when it should be increasing in a much more dramatic way. This is why New Jersey needs to set an energy efficiency resource standard. The energy efficiency funding is decreasing to $139 million from $409 million and renewable energy funding would fall from $59 million to $ 39 million. There will be $115 for rebates and direct programs.This would include solar and wind projects along with rebates for homeowners to purchase energy efficiency appliances. In addition Christie has taken $152 million from the Clean Energy Fund this year and $750 million total. The Administration is cutting clean energy programs that will not only benefit our environment, but help average citizens save on their electric bill. New Jersey had our solar market almost collapse and we are running into issues regarding potential offshore wind projects due to funding.All the while we are subsidizing natural gas plants with around $2 billion and renewable energy and energy efficiency program funding are basically getting chopped in half.

"These cuts are unconscionable after Hurricane Sandy because this money funds renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the state.Much of that funding could be used in rebuilding efforts to help victims of Sandy purchase energy efficient appliances or install renewable energy in their homes," said Jeff Tittel. These cuts to energy efficiency programs will impact Sandy recovery efforts, our environment, and our economy. These programs help families cut energy use, reducing the future impacts fo climate change and more storms like Sandy.Energy efficiency creates many jobs in weatherization and energy conservation for people's homes. It saves homeowners money on their heat and electric bills also limiting air pollution because there is less energy needed or heat being used. Energy Efficiency is the most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. Money for these programs go to seniors, people of limited income and the average family helping them save money on their budgets at a time when people are hurting financially.These programs could also be used to help Hurricane Sandy victims rebuild. For every dollar spent by residential homeowners on energy efficiency we save $4 and for every dollars spent by businesses we save $16. It not only helps our wallets, but also creates thousands of jobs from weatherization of homes to energy audits. By Governor Christie stealing this money it is a hidden tax affecting homeowners and businesses.

"Energy efficiency is not only the best way to reduce greenhouse gases it creates more jobs and helps the average person save money on their electric and heating bills. These cuts are not only bad for our economy it is bad for our wallets. When people go to the store to buy new appliances instead of getting rebates they are giving money to the utility companies. By taking clean energy money it is a hidden tax on all of us especially businesses," said Tittel. "The BPU has failed since 1999 to adopt an energy efficiency portfolio standard.Given the raids and spending cuts it is even more necessary now." These funding cuts also include affect rebates, which everyday households and businesses when it comes to energy efficiency appliances. When people buy energy efficiency heaters, furnaces, or air conditioners they are able to get a third of the money back making these major appliances more cost effective. Without the rebates people are more inclined to by cheaper, less efficient appliances costing them more money in the long term and adding more pollution to the environment. People who buy energy efficiency heaters, refrigerators, or windows not only save themselves money but save us from black outs and brown outs during high energy days in the summer. This directly affects New Jersey companies not only heating and cooling, but businesses here like Trane which makes energy efficient appliances and furnaces. These businesses are headquartered in New Jersey directly hurting businesses and our economy. The Governor has raided the funds this year and in previous years. This year combined heat and power is to be cut in half, which directly helps businesses save on their energy bills. Last year the Economic Development Authority (EDA) took $55 million for combined heat and power to make up for the loss of RGGI money.Since taking office, the Governor has diverted $750 million in clean energy monies from the Clean Energy Fund, the Retail Margin Fund, RGGI and other sources. Governor Christie's decision in 2011 to pull New Jersey out of RGGI will cost us $65 million and about 1,800 jobs.

"This is part of the Governor's ongoing anti-environmental agenda.He lowered the goals in the Energy Master Plan, pulled out of RGGI and raided Clean Energy Funds while subsidizing natural gas plants.The Governor is looking out for his national political ambitions at the expense of New Jersey's clean energy economy and jobs," said Jeff Tittel.

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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Received on 2013-04-23 09:44:18

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