How Do We Reach Clean Energy in NJ by 2050?

100% Electrification Is Not the Answer

clean energy options new jerseyNew Jersey’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) outlines a strategy to reach 100% clean energy by 2050. While we support this worthy goal, the current plan as we see it has problems that will have a negative impact on most families here.

As of now, the EMP will eventually require the conversion of homes that heat with heating oil, propane or natural gas, to convert to electric heat pumps. These whole-house conversions to electric heat that could cost New Jersey families $20,000 or more. Plus, this vast movement to electric heat will strain our already fragile electrical grid and potentially lead to increased winter power outages.

The EMP comes at a time when existing heating sources like clean-burning Bioheat® fuel and propane are already transitioning to carbon-neutral solutions. Right now, Bioheat fuel and propane generates far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electricity does.

In its present form, electricity is not a clean fuel. It is generated at power plants, which are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.

The Problem with Heat Pumps

The new electric heat being touted by many state and local governments is a heat pump, which is basically an air conditioner that can work in reverse, blowing warm air into a home during the cold weather months.

While heat pump technology has improved greatly over the years, there are still times when it is so cold the heat pump will not be able to keep your home comfortable, requiring the need for a backup heating system.

But if oil and gas heating systems are on the chopping block, the only alternative for backup heat would be electric resistance heat strips that are integrated into the central heat pump system. But this will make electric bills go even higher. In 2019, New Jersey’s electric rates were 27% higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Heat pump conversions in older homes

One of the many problems with the EMP is that it does not fully consider the different types of heating systems in New Jersey, and therefore dramatically underestimates the cost to install a heat pump.

North Jersey has five times the number of boilers as the national average; South Jersey has 2.5 times as many. This means there are many homes in New Jersey that do not have duct work to distribute the warm air generated by a heat pump. Depending on the design of the home, the installation of a heat pump could cost homeowners $6,500 to $32,000 above the replacement cost of an existing boiler.

Contact Your Legislator

Please join your friends at Woodruff Energy in reaching out to our New Jersey legislators in an effort to shift the direction of the Energy Master Plan. We can achieve clean energy goals in New Jersey without burdening families or forcing whole-house conversions to electric heat.

Take a few minutes to visit to send a letter to your legislator telling them NO to the $20,000 home heat tax imposed by the Energy Master Plan. Go here to speak up for your energy future.