Environment New Jersey Praises NJBPU Office of Clean Energy Budget for EV Rebates, Criticizes Cuts for Energy Efficiency
Trenton - Today, Environment New Jersey, along with NJPIRG, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council, UU Faith Action NJ Environmental Justice Task Force, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Isles Inc., NJ Work Environment Council, and Jersey Renews submitted comments to the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ Office of Clean Energy on their FY21 budget proposal. The commenters contextualized the impact that COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession has had on New Jersey’s financial health, and explained the importance of clean energy programs in the state’s recovery. Programs run by the Office of Clean Energy create jobs for New Jersey residents, while also reducing electricity costs and environmental impacts including reducing air pollution and climate pollutants.
The commenters focused specifically on energy efficiency programs and electric vehicle (EV) rebates. They praised the Office of Clean Energy for protecting the EV Rebate program, which received full funding for the nine months of FY21. They did, however, warn that funding for this program shouldn’t be cut in the FY22 budget for fear of setting a precedent for future budget decisions and reducing adoption of electric vehicles. The commenters raised strong concerns with the rest of the proposed budget, specifically the cuts to energy efficiency programs, which add up to a total of $78 million between FY20 and FY21.
The reduced funding for the NJBPU Office of Clean Energy budget is a result of an additional raid of $40 million in Governor Murphy’s proposed FY21 budget from the Office of Clean Energy to the General Fund. The Legislature is expected to finalize and vote on the FY21 budget within the next week.
Hayley Berliner, clean energy associate for Environment New Jersey, issued this statement:
“During both a public health and an economic crisis, it is more critical than ever for New Jersey to invest in its clean energy programs, which create green jobs, bring investments to our state, and reduce air pollution and climate pollutants. We thank the NJBPU Office of Clean Energy for fully funding the EV rebates, which puts the state back on track to reach Governor Murphy’s goal of 330,000 EVs by 2025.”
“Unfortunately, cuts to energy efficiency programs do the exact opposite. Many New Jerseyans are struggling to pay their bills due to COVID, and energy efficiency programs would help reduce their electricity costs and make their homes more liveable during the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. Without this funding, residents and businesses across the state will suffer. We urge the Murphy Administration in the FY22 budget to work to eliminate raids to the Clean Energy Fund so we can fully fund the clean energy priorities the program delivers.”
Environment New Jersey is one of the state’s largest citizen-based environmental advocacy organizations, representing more than 20,000 dues-paying members and more than 60,000 e-mail activists. The organization, a project of Environment America, advocates on behalf of clean water and air, open spaces and creating a clean, renewable energy future. The organization is based in both New Brunswick and Trenton. www.environmentnewjersey.org @EnvironmentNJ