NJ Spotlight recently reported that the state is considering cutting its funding for new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects almost in half. NJ Spotlight further reported that “In a draft proposal circulated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities last week, the budget for the clean energy program would allocate $339 million in new spending, a sharp reduction from the $651 million proposed by the agency last December.”
The question is, does cutting this money have a real impact on New Jersey’s energy program? Well, yes it does. As is usually the case, we are looking at short-term convenience at the expense of long-term economic development and energy stability.
As to what elements of the clean energy program are sacrosanct, and which might represent a less than efficient use of subsidies, it appears that the really short-term ignorance of this move is the cutting of energy conservation funds for homeowners and businesses.
How can it benefit economic growth when we are taking away financial incentives to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses? Notwithstanding the operating inefficiency that many complain about regarding the Office of Clean Energy (OCE), taking money away from the energy program is not the solution.
If the argument is that the OCE is inefficient and did not distribute the money effectively, then change the office. Don’t simply take the money and use it to plug budget problems created by an inefficient legislature and Governor’s office.
Reasonable people are of the opinion that energy conservation is the best overall investment that we can make. So why are we taking the money away to plug a budget deficit?