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Garcia, Lampitt & Lagana Bill to Create Energy Technology Center Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Carmelo Garcia, Pamela Lampitt and Joseph Lagana to promote clean energy technology research, projects and jobs in New Jersey was recently released by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-3369) creates a Clean Energy Technology Center within the Board of Public Utilities to administer an Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund.

“A center focused on creating ventures and opportunities within clean energy technology are critical components in New Jersey’s green future,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “This legislation is designed to grow partnerships with sustainable energy companies, to create jobs in the field and support the ventures of companies that are promoting clean energy technology.”

Under the bill, the center is authorized to use trust fund financing to finance clean energy technology research and provide loans and loan guarantees to companies, universities, and nonprofits to encourage the creation of clean technology ventures and the training of workers to perform associated “green jobs.”

“By helping clean energy companies grow and invest renewable energy, we support the growth of clean technology companies and service providers,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “It is time we invest in clean energy solutions and the companies working toward a “greener” tomorrow. A Clean Energy Technology Center will move New Jersey into the future it deserves.”

Specifically, the bill authorizes the center to provide loans and loan guarantees from the trust fund to:
1) stimulate increased financing for the expansion of clean energy research and development facilities by leveraging private financing for construction and expansion;
2) provide financing to state colleges and universities to develop a curriculum relative to clean energy and clean energy technology;
3) make targeted investments in clean energy research and promote manufacturing activities for new and existing advanced clean energy technologies;
4) make financing available to universities, businesses, and other institutions to encourage the federal government, industry and other entities to provide funding;
5) provide bridge financing in anticipation of such awards;
6) fund programs and investments that promote economic self-sufficiency for the low and moderate income communities in the clean energy industry.

“There’s so much more the state can accomplish in terms of studying the potential of clean energy and cultivating opportunities to reduce energy costs,” said Lagana (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The legislation will help to accelerate the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth.”

Also under the bill, a study of the clean energy sector is authorized to examine future workforce needs of the sector, the current growth rate, levels of private investment, real property owned by the state available and suitable for the installation and operation of renewable energy facilities, energy efficiency opportunities on real property owned by the state, and the future funding requirements of the center.

Financing by the center from the trust fund will be governed by rules approved by the board of directors of the center established by the bill. The nine member board is to include representatives of government, educational institutions, and private industry, including an engineer or scientist, a chief executive officer of a New Jersey-based clean energy corporation, and a venture capitalist with expertise in clean energy technologies.

The measure was released by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee on Monday, June 1.