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Renewable Energy

What can we do, when there are so many perceived barriers?

• A major barrier to renewable energy development on both public and private lands is the ability to build transmission lines to get that energy to market. Transmission developers need to navigate a complex, inefficient and duplicative bureaucratic process that can delay construction for years. We need our lawmakers to break down these barriers.  

• The federal government appropriates 3-4 times as much for energy subsidies for nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, nuclear waste, and fossil fuels, than for all renewable energy technologies combined.  In addition to receiving subsidies for research and development, conventional generating technologies have a lower tax burden. Fuel expenditures can be deducted from taxable income, but few renewables benefit from this deduction, since most do not use market-supplied fuels. Income and property taxes are higher for renewables, which require large capital investments but have low fuel and operating expenses. 

• Developing(1) new renewable resources will require large initial investments to build infrastructure.

These investments increase the cost of providing renewable electricity, especially during early years. Examples include:

  • Prospecting: Developers must find publicly acceptable sites with good resources and with access to transmission lines. Potential wind sites can require several years of monitoring to determine whether they are suitable.
  • Permitting: Permitting issues for conventional energy technologies are generally well understood, and the process and standards for review are well defined. In contrast, renewables often involve new types of issues and ecosystem impacts. And standards are still in the process of development.
  • Marketing: In the past, individuals had no choices about the sources of their electricity. But electricity deregulation has opened the market so that customers have a variety of choices. Start-up companies must communicate the benefits of renewables to customers in order to persuade them to switch from traditional sources. Public education will be a critical part of a fully functioning market if renewables are to succeed.
  • Installation, operation, and maintenance: Workers must be trained to install, operate, and maintain new technologies, as well as to grow and transport biomass fuels. Some renewables need operating experience in regional climate conditions before performance can be optimized. For example, the optimal spacing of wind turbines is likely to be different on New England ridgelines than on agricultural land in the Midwest.


Investment in renewable energy can accomplish the following for New Jersey:

  1. Provide reduced cost or free power for homes and businesses.
  2. Reduce the need for new power lines, pipelines, or other dangerous transmission of energy lines.
  3. Create jobs. Not just for the initial building or installation of the technology, but for the sustaining of the technology.
  4. Create an exportable technology. If we invest in renewable energy and push to become a leader we can export our technology to the rest of the country and the world.
  5. Protect our environment and future for our children. Protect our beautiful New Jersey coastline for tourists.


There is a conflict between the way we have done things and the way we need to do things.  It is time for a change!  What can we do?

  1. Provide for low cost or 0% financing for individuals or companies investing in renewable energy sources.
  2. Work to break down barriers to allow for the creation of delivery systems via the development of infrastructure.
  3. Provide tax incentives to homeowner’s and small businesses to develop and install systems.
  4. Work with the federal lawmakers to shift subsidies to renewable energy companies and technology.
  5. Sponsor educational programs for consumers so that they understand their energy options.
  6. Provide incentives for new home builders to build with renewable energy technology and de-incentivize traditional energy technology.


See Also:


(1); From Powerful Solutions: Seven Ways to Switch America to Renewable Electricity, UCS, 1999

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