The New Jersey Business & Industry Association on Monday urged a Senate committee to reject legislation that would lead to higher energy costs for business and consumers with an unnecessary mandate that New Jersey rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Sara Bluhm, NJBIA’s vice president for Environment & Energy, told the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Monday that New Jersey’s robust electric generation sector is already among the cleanest in the nation and by far the cleanest in the PJM electric grid. Before New Jersey left RGGI in 2012, its participation had resulted in higher electric costs and funds that were diverted to the state’s general treasury.
“We don’t need to rejoin RGGI; we are already leading without additional costs to our power sector,” Bluhm said in her testimony on S-3059. “We are a leader in our own right in curbing emissions and producing clean power.”
New Jersey’s electric generation plants are tied for 2nd in the nation for lowest sulfur dioxide (S02) emission rates; are 10th for lowest carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates; and tied for first in the nation for lowest nitrogen oxide (N02) emission rates, she said.
Bluhm said New Jersey is already helping lower PJM CO2 emissions by building new baseload Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) plants, which produce two to three times less C02 emissions than old coal-fired power plants in PJM.
“Rejoining RGGI could potentially impact the development and operation of these cleaner NGCC plants and cause PJM to dispatch dirtier baseload options,” Bluhm said.
“Do not penalize our energy generation sector for their good work by adding additional compliance costs,” Bluhm said. “Instead, work with PJM states to improve energy efficiency, emissions and fuel diversity that lead to a healthier air quality.”