Energy is one of the high costs of living in New Jersey, so residents got good news this week when the state's updated Energy Master Plan continued its emphasis on driving down or at least stabilizing energy costs.
The plan also will encourage power and natural gas infrastructure that's more resilient and resistant to storm damage. That's important in light of the outages experienced as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 derecho and even a thunderstorm this past June.
The updated plan remains committed to improving energy efficiency and clean energy generation, and continues to aim for a goal of 22.5 percent renewable power by 2021, which is in line with federal ambitions.
Consumers have gotten a welcome break on gasoline, oil and natural gas prices the past few years, but electricity continues to be expensive in New Jersey - more so than in 40 other states. The plan takes a strong stance against making it more expensive still by subsidizing offshore wind power projects, which it judged "not economically viable at this time."
The state Board of Public Utilities held firm the past couple of years in its rejection of a proposed Fishermen's Energy wind project off Atlantic City, which would have produced some of the most expensive energy in the nation.
The state should do the same regarding a federal push for wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean. President Barack Obama's renewable energy agenda included the sale of leases to two corporations earlier this month to develop wind power on hundreds of thousands of acres off South Jersey. Industry experts and environmental groups say such development would need government subsidies or new taxes on other forms of energy to reduce their price advantage over wind power.
If federal officials have a convincing argument that wind energy is so valuable for environmental reasons that customers and/or taxpayers should pay more for it, let them make that case to the nation and have all Americans pay for it.
New Jersey homeowners and renters already have subsidized so much solar energy that the tiny state ranks No. 3 in the nation for total installed solar capacity - behind only the bigger, sunnier states of Arizona and California.
New Jersey also already gets about half its electric power from emissions-free nuclear plants in South Jersey.
Residents deserve - and certainly need - the state to keep its energy planning focus on lower costs.