Negawatts save Megabucks

The Newark Star Ledger reported (here) that Public Service Electric and Gas, PSE&G is installing a the UMDNJ is installing a  2,700-ton chiller as part of an $11.4 million investment in negawatts. The Star Ledger reported that UMDNJ will save $1.3 million per year on energy costs.What’s the payback? An $11.4 million investment will save $1.3 million per year. That means the system will pay for itself in about 8 years 9 months, assuming the price of energy remains constant.  I think it’s a much more reasonable to assume that the price of energy will go up.

The system will work long after it is paid for. It will save at least $13 Million over the next 10 years and $26 Million over the next 20 years – assuming electricity costs are constant, assuming electricity costs are constant.  Assuming electricity costs increase an average of 5% per year, this will save $16.35 Million over the next 10 years, and $42.99 over the next 20 years.

  • Projected Savings of $11.4 Million investment.
  • After 1 Year: $1.3 Million. 11.4%
  • After 5 Years: $7.18 Million (63%) with a 5% annual increases in cost of energy.
  • After 10 Years: $16.35 M (143.4%).
  • After 15 Years: $28.05 M (246%)
  • After 20 Years: $42.99 M (377%).

We have Governor Corzine to thank. as well as Governors Whitman, McGreevey, Codey, and Christie.

Back in March, 2009, Jon Corzine, then-Governor of New Jersey, signed a package of renewable energy bills (here).

  1. People may install solar energy systems and wind turbines on industrial properties 20 acres or larger.
  2. Developers must offer home buyers a solar energy option, on developments with 25 or more units, including single family homes and condos.
  3. The Board of Public Utilities may give grants for energy efficiency programs.

Corzine said the new laws further New Jersey’s efforts to protect the environment and reduce dependence on foreign oil. “A cleaner New Jersey means a better New Jersey, and an even more attractive place for people to live, work, run a business and raise a family.

Senate Environment Committee chair Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, said developing clean energy sources will help on a number of levels, including global warming, energy sustainability, and reducing overall pollution. “We should be doing everything in government to foster carbonless energy sources.”

Assembly Republicans, called the first two laws “an intrusion on private or municipal rule.” “I just don’t believe the state should be using a broad brush approach to locating these wind turbines in all industrial zones,” Assemblyman Vincent Polistina (R-Atlantic) said. “Municipalities should have the right to zone where they see fit.” Polistina should realize that this gives energy entrepreneurs the right to install wind turbines on (moderately large) properties.

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) said if homeowners “wanted to install solar energy or energy saving devices into their homes they could do that on their own without Trenton telling them to discuss the matter.”  This may be the case, however, the economics logistics and financial ramifications of solar energy remain largely unknown.

This argument is, well, silly. The first and second laws allow people to build wind and solar. However, they do not compel people to do so.  They allow people to take a NIMBY “Not in My Backyard”) position, but prohibit people from taking a NIYBYE – BANANA! (“Not In Your Backyard Either – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”) approach and preventing their neighbors from exercising their right to invest in clean, renewable, sustainable energy.

We may have the right to be stupid, short-sighted, ignorant of science, and in denial about things scientists tell us their data indicate. However, we elect representatives to various houses in the hope and expectation that they are not stupid, short-sighted, ignorant, and in denial.

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