Ruiz Bill To Support Energy Efficiency Through Development Of Combined Heat And Power Grant Program Clears Senate

Senator M. Theresa Ruiz listens to testimony during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing.

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Teresa Ruiz which would create a grant program to encourage the use of Cogeneration/Combined Heat and Power (CHP) received final legislative approval today by the full Senate by a vote of 31 to 6.

Under the bill, CHP is defined as the use of a combined heat engine or a power station to simultaneously generate both electricity and heat. CHP plants utilize the heat that comes from electricity generation and use it for industrial or domestic heating needs.

“As we continue through the winter, and energy costs continue to rise, the use and development of renewable energy will become increasingly necessary,” said Senator Ruiz, D-Essex and Union. “Through the funding of these grants, we would be allowing businesses to cultivate combined heat and power energy, which in turn, would create healthy competition between companies to offer renewable energy that is both efficient and affordable, and that would also keep New Jersey in the forefront of energy innovation.”

The Senator’s measure, S-1932, would amend the Electric Discount Energy Competition Act to permit the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to use monies from the retail margin fund on grants for combined heat and power and other demand response measures.

“This bill would not create any new charges or taxes. Utility companies would collect the retail margin charge and deposit all monies into the Retail Margin Fund, which was established in 2002, for development of Cogeneration and other similar demand response measures,” Senator Ruiz said.

The bill would also authorize the State Treasurer to have access to the Retail Margin Fund.

Currently, there is already over $100 million in the Retail Margin Fund, and the fund will continue to grow over time. Of the funding in the Retain Margin Fund, $60 million would be appropriated to provide grants to companies seeking to install or expand combined heat and power production. All grants would be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Grant amounts would vary based on the amount of energy used per company.

This measure now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature would make it State law.

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