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A Challenge to PSE&G – Commit to A Carbon Free Energy Future

Anne Hoskins, PSEG’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Sustainability, has a pretty good Op-Ed running today at NJ Spotlight, see:

Investing in New Jersey’s Energy Future -Prudent investing recognizes that not all energy sectors need the same amount of help, or any help at all

As traditional fossil/nuke dominated energy companies go, PSE&G is fairly progressive.

The perspective Ms. Hoskins offers in this Op-Ed is on the sane side of the spectrum of the business community’s advocacy effort in the contentious debate on the Christie Administration’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) revisions.

Unfortunately, business interests in this debate are dominated by the usual suspects, I will call a cabal.

This cabal is focusing on a shortsighted, commercial electric rate cutting, irresponsible, global warming denying,  anti-regulatory, anti-investment, race to the bottom strategy.

The cabal is led by the Chamber of Commerce, NJ Business and Industry Association, and what is known as the “Large Power Consumers Coalition” (or somesuch – this is the front group for NJ’s big oil, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries who use significant amounts of power).

So, I thought I’d jot down a few items that could cement PSE&G commitment to investments in a sustainable, carbon free, clean energy future.

Readers should jump in and let me know the stuff I forgot to mention in this note:

Dear Ms. Hoskins – this Op-Ed is a thoughtful and good faith effort. There is much that I agree with.

But we encourage PSEG to take Ten additional more aggressive steps:

1) abandon nuke plans – forever
2) abandon long distance transmission plans – forever
3) abandon support of “clean coal” technologies (IGCC, et al) – forever
4) shut down 2 existing coal power plants (Mercer, Hudson)
5) shift billions of dollars in shareholder investments allocated to #1 – #4 to: a) energy efficiency;  and b) local, small scale, distributed renewable power (including residential rooftop and community solar, not just large scale commercial installations at brownfields/landfills, corporate office parks, etc)
6) pledge to phase out importation of coal generated power in 5 years
7) pledge to not accept frack gas supply contracts for existing gas distribution system (and agree to no further gas pipeline capacity expansion)
8.  phase out current ratepayer subsidies for the recovery of costs that should be borne by shareholders, including dereg stranded costs, coal gas site cleanups, and nuclear decommissioning. As you note, a sustainable policy would shift scarce subsidy resources to efficiency and renewables.
9) use PSEG influence, resources, political power, and lobbying clout to enact legislation, regulation and EMP revisions that:

  • Legislatively over-ride the Governor’s exit and get NJ back in a strengthened RGGI program, including lowering the cap by at least 40%, increasing the scope beyond electric sector to all sectors; and making emissions reductions mandatory and enforceable by DEP regulation, similar to the Clean Air Act’s Acid Rain Program many tout as a model for RGGI
  • expand RPS beyond 30% (with an annual escalator);
  • establish a minimum floor price, long term procurement and contracting process for solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal/wave energy;
  • restrict the definition of Class I renewables to exclude garbage incineration and other sham energy recovery technologies;
  • expand investment resources by increasing the current Societal Benefits Charge
  • develop an electric car infrastructure in a decade or less
  • bring back Employer Trip Reduction mandates, with enhancements such as telecommute
  • expand public investments in public transit, including dedicated and sustainable funding via energy, carbon, or gas taxes
  • public investments in energy technology development, including a pilot tidal/wave energy demonstration/feasibility

10) Develop and invest significant PSE&G shareholder resources in a public education campaign to support and achieve the goals of the Global Warming Response Act

Then I would applaud PSEG and support this op-ed!

(readers – what did I forget?)

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