Cooking with gas? Not if Governor Murphy’s plan goes through | Mulshine

Tony Bucco is a Republican Senator from Morris County. He recently sent a critical press release on the state’s energy master plan calling for an almost complete phase out of natural gas by 2050.

“While some people value the environmental benefits of using all-electric appliances, others have legitimate concerns about losing the ability natural gas provides to heat their homes, cook food, or run a standby generator to keep one Operate sump pump or refrigerator when the power goes out, ”he wrote.

When I called Bucco on Thursday there were over 60,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey without power.

Bucco’s house in a rural area of ​​Boonton Township was not one of them. But he has lost performance for a long time in previous storms.

“If a tree falls over here, it will take you some time to get out of here to fix it,” he told me.

It’s quite a problem. Without electricity he cannot get any water because the pump needs electricity. The sewerage system is also dependent on electricity.

Like many of its neighbors, Bucco is planning to install a natural gas-powered generator.

“A lot of generators are running right now so they can flush their toilets and prepare their meals instead of going to a hotel,” said Bucco.

He’d better have the generator installed quickly.

This master plan calls for a “transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050” and natural gas does not meet the government definition of “clean energy”.

The Federal Energy Information Administration is more positive about gas. The EIA website states, “Burning natural gas for energy results in fewer emissions of almost all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning coal or petroleum products to produce the same amount of energy.”

The EIA also tells us that natural gas is the state’s main source of energy for generating electricity and that renewable energies only provide 5 percent.

It continues: “In 2018, three out of four households in New Jersey used natural gas as their primary fuel for home heating.”

But under the master plan, “New Jersey’s natural gas consumption will be less than a fifth of its current level”.

The plan doesn’t specify how this will be achieved, but in other states the government is urging homeowners to switch from gas heaters and appliances to electric.

The administration has not yet published a schedule for achieving this goal. But when he unveiled the plan last year, Governor Phil Murphy said New Jersey plans to lead the nation in “weaning the state off its centuries-old dependence on fossil fuels.”

“I guarantee you that within 10 years every state has to surrender and do what we do,” Murphy said.

Not likely, says Myron Ebell. Ebell, an energy specialist with the Competitive Enterprise Free Market Institute, said many states have long-term plans like New Jersey’s. But they don’t work short term.

“It’s crazy,” said Ebell when I called him. “Compare these crazy and utterly impossible plans with what is actually happening in California and Arizona.”

In California, the planners wanted to switch entirely to renewable energies such as wind and sun. But they soon found that they needed a constant source of power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

“Californians keep saying they want to get rid of gas, but in the face of impending peak demand shortages, California has ordered six peak power plants,” he said.

A “top plant” burns natural gas when renewable energies are neglected. In drought-ravaged Arizona, the Salt River Project needed a steady source of electricity to transport water to cities like Phoenix.

The Salt River Project has just decided to spend nearly $ 1 billion on 16 new natural gas power plants.

At least they have a lot of sun in the west. The situation is different here in New Jersey, said Ebell.

“You have a special challenge in New Jersey,” he said. “It’s not a sunny state. There is not much onshore wind and offshore wind is very expensive. “

What we have is a 33,000 mile distribution network that supplies 2.7 million homes and businesses with natural gas. Does the Murphy government really want to cut the supply of this system by four fifths?

I couldn’t get Murphy on the phone, but State Sen. Bob Smith was happy to speak. The Middlesex Democrat, who is a keen environmentalist, said he would support a bill to include the master plan in the statutes.

“There is a way to deal with this climate change and that is to electrify everything and make sure the power comes from a renewable source,” said Smith.

When I asked if homeowners might have to switch from gas to electricity, Smith replied, “Every damn week people switch homes. They are installing sump pumps and French drains to cope with the floods accelerated by climate change. “

As for me, I already have a sump pump.

But I would like to keep my gas stove.


Resistance to clean-burning natural gas is more of a cult than a political movement. The cult leader is a guy named Bill McKibben. An excerpt from this column on the Luddic nature of the anti-pipeline movement:

Blame a guy named Bill McKibben. He’s an environmental activist who declared all pipelines jihad, period. His goal is “Keep It in the Ground” – the name for his campaign against fossil fuels.

“Every piece of fossil fuel infrastructure must be challenged,” McKibben writes. “Every month of delay creates new costs; Even the smallest uncertainty makes it harder for investors to justify themselves. “

Read the whole thing.

(You can reach me as Paul Mulshine on Facebook and @mulshine on Twitter)

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