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Senate Environment and Energy Committee Advances Bills Concerning Renewable Energy Connection, Consumption and Storage

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Trenton – Today the Senate Environment and Energy Committee advanced three bills that concern renewable energy connection, consumption and storage.


“Energy storage is an essential component of New Jersey’s sustainable energy future. As we move forward with the State’s plan to operate on 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050, it is imperative that we look at our current renewable energy systems to ensure that the standards are not only uniform but also being utilized to its maximum potential,” said Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset), chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “These bills are a critical technical step needed to achieve our clean energy goals, and by having them in place, we will be better prepared to generate and store renewable energy that can power our entire state.”


The first bill, S-431, sponsored by Senator Smith and Senator Linda Greenstein, would require the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to establish safety and power quality interconnection standards for Class I renewable energy source systems and develop a fixed fee for interconnection costs. Under the bill, interconnection standards adopted by the BPU would be required to conform with model standards promulgated by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in its “Model Interconnection Procedures”.


“New Jersey’s rules and regulations pertaining to interconnection were last updated in 2012, meaning that the current rules are outdated by 10 years,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Solar developers have voiced their worries that the prevailing interconnection procedures lack transparency, increasing the risk associated with building new solar energy installations. It is imperative that we update these standards so that our renewable energy source systems can be installed efficiently and effectively.

The second bill, S-439, sponsored by Senator Smith, would direct the BPU to establish a process to periodically assess and adjust the solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program to ensure that there is an appropriate and stable ratio between the supply of, and demand for, SRECs in the State.


The third bill, S-2185, sponsored by Senator Smith and Senator Greenstein, would require the BPU to establish a pilot program that would provide upfront incentives and performance incentives for owners of energy storage systems. Upfront and performance incentives would be applicable for both customer-sited and front-of-the-meter ES systems.


Under the bill, upfront incentives would be provided to owners of energy storage systems that are based on the nameplate storage capacity of the system in dollars per kilowatt-hour, not to exceed 40 percent of the project’s all-in cost. Performance incentives would be provided to compensate owners of energy storage systems that are connected to the transmission or distribution system for the operational attributes of the systems, including, but not limited to, capacity, demand response, and load shifting.


The bills were released from committee by a vote of 4-1, 4-1 and 5-0, respectively.