Assembly Approves Chivukula, McKeon & Stender Energy Master Plan Bill

Legislation Establishes Committee Responsible for Preparation, Adoption, & Revision of EMP Regarding Production, Distribution & Conservation of Energy in N.J.

(TRENTON) Legislation sponsored by Assembly Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula, Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Linda Stender to incorporate long-term capacity and infrastructure planning objectives in the state’s existing Energy Master Plan (EMP) was approved Thursday by the full Assembly.
The measure establishes an EMP Committee responsible for the preparation adoption and revision of the plan with regard to the production, distribution and conservation of energy in New Jersey.
The committee would comprise of the President of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) as its chairperson while its members would be from various state departments including the Departments of Environmental Protection, Community Affairs, Health & Human Services, Transportation and Treasury.
“The lack of long-term capacity and infrastructure planning objectives in deregulated New Jersey, leads to higher energy rates because of a shortfall or insufficient capacity in our in-state generation. This results in the purchase of a substantial portion of electricity from out-of-state sources and to much higher capacity prices for New Jersey when compared to other states under the PJM Interconnection grid,” Chivukula said. “The measure (A-2887) would facilitate planning to better meet the electricity needs of our state and to help bring prices down for ratepayers.”
New Jersey is part of the Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland (PJM) Interconnection power grid which serves 13 states and the District of Columbia. PJM is currently the world’s largest competitive wholesale electricity market. Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are also part of the grid.
“Long-term capacity and infrastructure planning objectives are key to meeting our state’s present and future energy needs and to keeping prices affordable and competitive. New Jersey ratepayers are already straddled with one of the highest average energy bills in the nation. The measure would ramp up goals for in-state distributed generation and help reduce monthly bills,” McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) said.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene was that hundreds of thousands of storm battered residents were out of power for extended periods of time. The measure would help in the quicker restoration of power by providing for better planning for distributed generation in the event of emergencies,” Stender (D-Union /Middlesex/Somerset) said.
Under the existing system, while power generation is regulated at a federal level by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), distribution falls under the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
The lack of integrated resource planning for capacity and infrastructure often leads to inadequate preparation to prevent power outages for long durations. The measure would create better planning of integrated resources between generation and distribution. It also would encourage the creation of micro grids and smart switches to facilitate the quicker restoration of power at a local level in the event of natural disasters.
The measure (A-2887) would include the following:
? require the EMP Committee to prepare and adopt a master plan for 10 years on the production, distribution, consumption and conservation of energy in the State, taking into account various geographic regions;
? require the plan to be revised and updated at least once every three years;
? include long-term objectives and benchmarks designed to measure the State’s progress toward meeting those objectives and the interim implemention of measures consistent with those objectives;
? the long-term objectives shall, at a minimum, analyze the efficiency of generation capacity and New Jersey’s energy infrastructure in relation to the goal of providing for the long-term energy needs of the State;
? To the extent necessary, make recommendations regarding any policies needed to achieve that goal.