New Jersey has been “borrowing” funds intended for clean energy and energy efficiency programs for the past few months. But that amount that they’ve borrowed is going to take a big jump.
On Tuesday, it was reported by the state Board of Public Utilities that Governor Christie’s administration plans of using $10 million from clean-energy funds to balance next year's budget. The total amount of funds taken from the program is more than $160 million, in the next fiscal year alone.
If these diversions pass, the total amount that will have been taken from these clean energy programs during Christie’s three years as governor will be $800 million. According to Philly.com, critics are calling it a hidden tax on residents."New Jersey has largely stood still while other states have done more," said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The ACEEE is a nonprofit organization that promotes policies for reduce energy consumption.
As reported by Philly.com, the ACEEE ranks states in terms of their energy efficiency. New Jersey used to be number eighth out of all 50 states in 2007, but slipped to 16th in 2012. Nadel says that we’ve also fallen in rank of utility expenditures and energy-efficiency savings, dropping from ninth to 21st in the same five year span. If these appropriations are passed, these numbers will only continue to fall.
But even worse than our rank on a national level, these appropriations are affecting our efforts to encourage cleaner power and less energy use in general. The subsidies that utility ratepayers spend for not using cleaner energies, such as wind and solar, will increase, possibly into the billions over the next 10 years.
Those in the energy sector are calling for more action from the legislators. Amid the facts that it would create jobs, curb pollution, and reduce bills for citizens, the positive effect that these programs would have on our planet is undeniable.