Inside the Energy Master Plan


We all share the same goal: clean energy by 2050. But what’s the right path?

The effort to reduce climate change across the nation and within the state of New Jersey continues to increase in visibility and importance—as it should. With that in mind, the Energy Master Plan (EMP) was created to serve as a path for New Jersey to maintain its position as a clean-energy leader, and to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.

The residential energy industry in New Jersey fully supports this clean-energy goal.

From practical and economical standpoints, however, the obstacles and consequences of the current plan are many, and families deserve to have a clear understanding of these issues. Here’s a look at what following the path laid out in the current EMP will bring with it.

Based on current pricing estimates from New Jersey heating and cooling contractors, the estimated cost to convert a whole house to heat pumps could exceed $20,000. Recent studies demonstrate the costs associated with the installation of residential air-source heat pump systems as well as the technical implications of complete electric conversion of residential heating and hot water systems from fossil fuels to electricity.

While the current demand for electricity in New Jersey peaks in the summer, peak demand will shift to winter once electricity becomes our sole energy source for heat. The combination of the cost to convert with the increased cost of the electricity itself makes the financial burden very clear. Offering a variety of low-carbon emissions options rather than an exclusively electric path as we move forward will help the people of New Jersey achieve the EMP’s goals at a lower cost to homeowners.

Learn more about the what the cost to families will really look like if we don’t see a directional shift soon.

Heat pumps, an ultimate requirement of the path laid out by the current EMP, are simply not suitable as a primary or sole heat source for New Jersey homes during the coldest months of the year. There’s more to the heat pump story. Learn more now.

“The nation’s already strained power grid is either at a turning point or poised to dash all those clean-power visions as it crumbles under the new stresses being placed on it.”
“The grid’s big looming problem: Getting power to where it’s needed,” by Will Englund, the Washington Post, June 29, 2021

The following breakdown demonstrates how households are heating their homes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
Natural gas: About 75%
Electric heat: More than 13%
Petroleum products: About 10%
Other: About 2%
Over-electrification creates a missed opportunity for New Jersey residents to benefit from heating our homes with other low- or zero-carbon energy sources. This challenge applies to homes currently heated by heating oil or propane as well, and other approaches are available.

The Bottom Line

Not only is the current path expensive, but it’s inequitable. The Energy Master Plan will force New Jersey homeowners who use natural gas or home heating oil to switch to electric heat pumps, which could cost households upwards of $20,000 or more. A requirement for working families to spend thousands of dollars to convert to new heat sources will hit low-income families the hardest, as they will either pay as homeowners or through increases in rent.

If this concerns you, it’s time to take action and let our state legislators know that the current EMP is not the right path forward.