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ASSEMBLY UTILITIES PANEL TO CONSIDER LEGISLATION TO FAST TRACK CLEAN ENERGY, INCLUDE INFRASTRUCTURE & LONG-TERM CAPACITY PLANNING IN EMP
Assembly Utilities Chair Says Sandy Devastation Underscores Urgency of Slowing Climate Change
(TRENTON) Assembly Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula announced that Thursday's panel will consider a bill package to fast track clean energy and prioritize long-term capacity and infrastructure planning.
The bills would create a separate Office of Clean Energy and amend the existing Energy Master Plan (EMP) to include long-term capacity and infrastructure planning.
The Assembly Telecom and Utilities Committee will meet on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in Committee Room 9 on the Third Floor at the State House Annex in Trenton, NJ.
The hearing will be streamed live at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp.
Thursday's panel will consider the following bills:
A-2887 (Chivukula) - Requires Energy Master Plan to include long-term capacity and infrastructure planning
A-2888 (Chivukula) - Establishes Office of Clean Energy which would continue to be funded by the Societal Benefits Charge (SBC)
"Hurricane Sandy, a storm that devastated New Jersey, underscores the urgency of slowing climate change, which scientists say is a major factor in the severe weather conditions that we have been experiencing. It is unacceptable that in the past three years, nearly $600 million in clean energy funds have been raided. These funds, that are generated from ratepayers, are intended to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming pollution," Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) said. "Establishing a separate Office of Clean Energy would create a reporting mechanism and give the state Legislature greater oversight over the use of ratepayer funds."
New Jersey's Clean Energy Program is funded by a monthly fee that utilities levy on industrial and residential ratepayers known as the Societal Benefits Charge.
"The second measure we will consider on Thursday would incorporate long-term capacity and infrastructure planning into the existing Energy Master Plan in order to power up our state's utilities to better meet the needs of ratepayers and reduce the impact of storms like Sandy," Chivukula added. "The bill would provide for the efficient integration of generation and distribution systems and for more local generation of power. It would also encourage the creation of micro grids to facilitate the quicker restoration of power at a local level in the event of natural disasters."
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) and this often leads to a lack of proper planning to prevent power outages. Chivukula's measure would create better integration between the two.
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