NJ A577 is a Waste of Taxpayer Money
New Jersey Assembly Bill A577 purports to be about supporting clean renewable energy, but in reality it is nothing of the sort.
When Joe Biden negotiated a bi-partisan infrastructure deal, there were some funds to help develop new clean energy sources. While most people think about clean energy they are probably expecting zero-emission sources like solar, wind, or hydroelectric power. There was another more esoteric item included in this clean energy initiative: so-called “renewable natural gas”.
The idea for this new fossil-fuel product is that methane can occur as byproducts of the agriculture industry, waste treatment, or from decomposition occurring at landfills. Currently, these small amounts of methane are released into the atmosphere where they are a potent greenhouse gas component (far more than carbon dioxide). Since these industries are ongoing, the idea is that these quantities of gas can be collected and used as fuel in a renewable process.
Currently there is no profitable way to collect, store, and transport methane collected in this manner. That is why the government believes that providing subsidies to energy companies can offset the expense in developing these procedures.
With innovations in fracking, there is abundant quantities of natural gas already extracted from non-renewable sources. By mixing the expected small amounts of harvested “renewable” gas with traditional gas, there is some possibility this whole business might break even or return a profit if the government subsidies continue. It must be noted that even with the subsidies the additional costs of developing technologies will likely be passed on to the end consumer.
Although there is great demand for zero-carbon energy, our New Jersey legislatures are happy to allocate taxpayer money for clean energy in a giveaway to the fossil-fuel industry as they attempt to develop “renewable natural gas”. Instead of investing in proven zero-emission technology like solar panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric generators they are content to spend tax-payer dollars on theoretical methane capture.
With limited resources for energy subsidies and the world on the precipice of a climate emergency is taxpayer funded new fossil fuel infrastructure what NJ really needs right now? Please call your state legislators and tell them to vote no on A577.