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  • 19 Jan 2015 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Historic storm exposed antiquated power grid’s vulnerability – but public funding’s not sufficient to accomplish needed modernization

    Super-storm Sandy was a wakeup call. It further exposed New Jersey’s and our country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events linked to climate change, alerting us to the hard reality that our central power grid is outdated and vulnerable.

    New Jersey, as well as other badly hit areas, turned their attention to enhancing the electric grid’s resilience. The federal government, New Jersey, and the state’s electric utilities have invested heavily in hardening the grid and promoting clean energy technologies – such as renewable energy, microgrids, and energy storage – to upgrade to a smarter, more flexible energy system that can withstand the effects of future storms and keep people safe and warm when they need it most.

    New Jersey’s resiliency efforts are impressive, but it’s become resoundingly clear that limited public funds alone will never be enough to build the state’s clean energy future. Private capital investment is key to establishing the large-scale, clean energy markets needed to ultimately save customers money, increase grid resiliency, and slash harmful pollution.

    To spur private investment, New Jersey set up an Energy Resilience Bank to finance clean energy and resiliency projects. The Energy Resilience Bank launched with $210 million of federal funds to finance resilient energy systems operating the state’s critical infrastructure, such as water and wastewater treatment facilities, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

    Financing resilience is a priority in New Jersey. In November, the Christie Administration, Environmental Defense Fund, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology hosted the Resilience Finance Symposium, bringing together over 120 public and private sector participants from across the state and country to explore innovative ways New Jersey and beyond are financing resilient energy systems.

    The New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank, the New York Green Bank, and the Connecticut Green Bank were on hand to share strategies and successes, while New Jersey companies spoke about their projects and barriers to growth. The state’s transportation authority, New Jersey Transit, discussed plans to use $410 million in federal funds to develop a microgrid, which can generate electricity on-site or nearby where it’s consumed and keep trains running in the event of a power outage.

    New Jersey’s focus on critical facility infrastructure upgrades in the wake of Sandy made perfect sense. Moving forward, however, the state should begin laying the groundwork to leverage available public funds to access private capital. This will expand the market for clean energy technologies and improve grid resilience.

    New Jersey might follow Connecticut’s lead, for instance, whose green bank was able to turn every dollar in system benefits charges (a small surcharge on customers’ electricity bills used to finance energy efficiency and clean energy programs) into three dollars of private capital. The state then used this extra funding to help finance Connecticut’s successful Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which allows business owners to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades on their property tax bills.

    Growing momentum for private capital engagement in the clean energy sector was also evident in New York at a recent International Green Bank summit, hosted by the New York Green Bank, which brought together green bank stakeholders from around the world. The New York Green Bank recently announced its first set of deals, using $200 million of public funds to catalyze $600 million in investment from prominent Wall Street banks like Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank.

    New Jersey’s Energy Resilience Bank is already off to a great start by allocating $65 million for water and wastewater treatment plants, for which the bank is accepting applications. In coming months, the Energy Resilience Bank will distribute grants and low-interest loans to help finance clean energy technologies that can operate independently from the power grid like solar power with battery storage.

    The Energy Resilience Bank could enhance its financing capacity by fully harnessing the potential of private capital, enabling it to expand its range of products and types of projects. Ideally, the bank would merely bridge the financing gap that exists due to market barriers by providing attractive interest rates or other incentives. This would allow the private sector step in and do what it does best, resulting in a self-sustaining clean-tech market with minimal support from public funds. New Jersey has taken innovative steps to address grid vulnerability and resiliency. Next on the agenda is ensuring the state has adequate resources to get the job done, and accessing private capital is the most effective way to do it.

    Mary Barber is the Environmental Defense Fund's New Jersey Director, Clean Energy.

  • 22 Dec 2014 11:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) is pleased to partner  with NJSWEP to host the popular keystone event:  The NJDEP Regulatory Update.

    Early registration is now open for NJSWEP and BCONE members, and is available until January 4th! This event will sell out - don't wait to sign up! Registration opens to the public Jan. 5th.  BCONE members only, use code: NJRegBCONE


    NJDEP Public Hearing Room

    Department of Environmental Protection Headquarters

    401 E. State Street

    Trenton, New Jersey 

    Date: February 4, 2015 (Snow date - February 18, 2015)

    Time: 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

    Cost and Registration: $25 for NJSWEP members and BCONE members; Free for NJDEP employees; $85 for non-members

    For early registration, click here.

  • 11 Dec 2014 1:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BCONE’s Woodbridge Brownfield Event was held on September 19, 2014 at Hatch Mott MacDonald’s Iselin, New Jersey Headquarters. More details can be found here.

  • 01 Oct 2013 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    PSE&G released a Request for Proposal (RFP) announcement related to PSE&G’s Solar 4 All Extension program to interested Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors and site owners to provide proposals for construction on fully-engineered solar projects located on landfill or brownfield sites within PSE&G’s electric service territory.

    Specifics and the requirements for qualified EPC contractors are detailed in the RFP (download announcement here).  Registration for interested parties opened on Tuesday October 8, 2013 and closes on Friday October 19, 2013.  EPC contractors MUST register and provide required documentation in order to access the complete RFP.

  • 01 Oct 2013 12:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Planning is underway for the 5th Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop to be held in Jersey City in early 2014.  Past years have sold out to maximum capacity with an attendance level of over 300 people from a wide-range of sectors.  Sponsorship opportunities are available.
  • 01 Oct 2013 12:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Environmental Protection Agency released guidance Sept. 25 to inform urban planners, engineers and developers how they can use bioswales, rain gardens and porous pavements to capture stormwater runoff at brownfield sites without mobilizing pollutants in the soil and contaminating groundwater. The guidance, “Implementing Stormwater Infiltration Practices at Vacant Parcels and Brownfield Sites,” addresses six key questions to determine whether infiltration-which allows accumulated stormwater runoff to percolate into the subsoil-or other management approaches are appropriate for a specific brownfield property. The guidance, prepared by the EPA Office of Water and the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said stormwater management planning should be done alongside site investigation, state approvals, selection of cleanup approaches and design and engineering of site improvements. The guidance is available here.
  • 01 Oct 2013 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    BCONE Event Sept 2013-IMAG0688On a beautiful September afternoon, the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) partnered with The Salvation Army Camden, Dresdner Robin, Hunter Roberts Construction Group, NJDEP, and the Camden Redevelopment Agency to provide a first-hand look at one of New Jersey’s biggest brownfield redevelopment projects currently underway.  Over 30 attendees enjoyed an overview of the project and then a “behind the scenes” look at this redevelopment success story.   The former 85-acre Harrison Avenue Landfill in the Cramer Hill neighborhood of Camden provided the backdrop for BCONE’s guided tour and for an opportunity to network with industry colleagues. Read the full story.
  • 01 Oct 2013 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 (summary) was signed into law on September 18, 2013.  The Act streamlines New Jersey’s five existing economic development incentive programs into two; the Grow New Jersey Assistance (Grow NJ) Program will be the State’s main job creation and retention incentive program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) program will be New Jersey’s key developer incentive program. The EDA is no longer accepting applications for assistance under the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP), Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (BRRAG) Program and Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (UTHTC) Programs; applications that have been submitted prior to the enactment of the new law will be processed by December 31, 2013.  To view the Act, click here.
  • 01 Oct 2013 11:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Each year EPA receives numerous inquiries regarding preparation of proposals for the Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grant competitions. Many potential applicants find that it is difficult to prepare their proposals in only 60 days, the typical amount of time the Request for Proposals (RFP) allows from publication until the proposals are due. While the RFP for the ARC Guidelines is on schedule to be available in early Fall, there are still many activities that applicants can perform in advance of the RFP. Many of the activities are listed in a new 3-page EPA guidance document.
  • 18 Sep 2013 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is a lot of buzz about New Jersey being a national leader in solar installation.  Here are the latest statistics on the amount of solar installed and the amount of solar to be installed (according to registration numbers supplied by the NJ Board of Public Utilities.)

    Listed below is the preliminary update of the NJ Clean Energy Program Installed Solar Capacity as of September 18, 2013.

    solar table1

    Listed below is the preliminary update of the NJ Clean Energy Program Solar Capacity for projects in the Pipeline as of September 18, 2013.

    solar table2

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