NJ Fights Trump’s FERC Fossil Fuel $ubsidies
This week, New Jersey and other states have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a motion to reconsider their new Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR). The rule would essentially exclude new renewable energy resources from the PJM capacity market. MOPR will cost consumers in New Jersey over $711 million a year, $60 per person per year, or $5 per person per month. It will cost the Midwest, Appalachia, and Mid-Atlantic regions almost $6 billion annually and will increase fossil fuel emissions.
“New Jersey and other states are standing up to FERC and the Trump Administration’s shameful move to subsidize fossil fuels at the expense of ratepayers and the environment. It is important these states, and even the PJM, are asking for a rehearing. FERC and Trump are siding with coal, oil, and natural gas over green jobs and our health. This order will hit us in the lungs and the wallets,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “FERC, the Federal Energy Rubberstamp Commission, is doing Trump’s dirty work to subsidize the fossil fuel industries. These dirty industries cannot compete with cheaper and cleaner renewable energy, so they are looking for a massive subsidy at our expense. This is like trying to rescue horse and buggy manufacturers from the success of the automobile industry.
The MOPR will put a surcharge on new renewable energy resources. Elevating the prices of renewable energy resources will prevent them from displacing more expensive dirty energy, like coal and new fracked gas resources. The new rule will cancel out state incentives for clean energy resources, and will raise costs for 65 million consumers as a start.
“This is an outrageous giveaway to big oil, coal, and gas at the expense of our environment. They are already drilling our public lands and costs, now they will be getting over $6 billion a year from the PJM grid. We are subsidizing nuclear energy and now fossil fuels, all at the expense of renewable energy. Anybody who says natural gas is cheaper and cleaner doesn’t know what they are talking about. They should be looking at the staggering cost of natural gas and fossil fuels when it comes to climate impacts,” said Tittel. “This scam will cost ratepayers in New Jersey $711 million a year on top of $300 million already being spent each year to subsidize nuclear energy.”
High levels of ozone exposure can result in chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, scarring of the lungs, and premature death, and is particularly harmful to children. The areas of the country that suffer from unhealthy air due to cross-state pollution are disproportionately home to communities of color. A third of New Jersey’s pollution comes from out of state.
“This is a disastrous rule that will hurt renewable energy and green jobs. Coal and gas companies know that renewable energy is finally picking up, and now they are trying to do everything they can to stop states from transitioning. This rule is only going after new capacity because it would be illegal to go after energy that has already cleared the auction due to ex post facto law. Renewable energy is actually becoming cheaper and more effective. People complain about the cost of offshore wind and renewable energy, but these technologies are getting cheaper and more effective every year,” said Jeff Tittel. “This disgraceful new rule will hurt clean and renewable energy progress at a time that New Jersey is ramping up offshore wind and renewable energy. It will also increase fossil fuel emissions.”
The new FERC rule targets states that subsidize renewable energy. New resources supported by renewable energy credits and other incentives will not be able to compete with dirty energy like coal and natural gas. Customers will be forced to pay higher prices for dirty energy that they do not want or need.
“This rule will hit New Jersey in the lungs and the wallet. Trump wants to take money out of our pockets to subsidize dirty energy and pay for more pollution. These fossil fuel subsidies will lead to more extreme climate impacts. New Jersey is already one of the most vulnerable states to sea level rise and climate impacts. We also have some of the worst air quality in the nation, and we get a third of our air pollution from out of state. The more we subsidize fossil fuels, the more we are poisoning our environment and our communities,” said Jeff Tittel. “Trump is selling us out to dirty fossil fuels, and making us pay for it. FERC should be known as the Federal Energy Rubberstamp Commission.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68% in the last decade. The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% since 2010 and there are more than double the number of solar jobs than existed only five years ago. The MOPR rule will slow or stop renewable energy progress.
“We are glad to see New Jersey stand up against FERC and corporate polluters. FERC are saying that we are giving an unfair advantage to renewable energy but they are letting coal and natural gas control the energy market while blocking renewables. This will undermine Murphys goals, and it will prevent us from reaching 100% renewable by 2035 and zero carbon by 2050. It will also increase climate impacts like flooding and sea level rise. Since renewable energy is taking off with more proposals for offshore wind and solar, FERC is trying to tilt the scale back to dirty energy,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “New Jersey is fighting back to protect our clean air and water and to make us more resilient towards climate change. New Jersey needs to tell the Trump administration to get the FERC out of here.”