BPU LAUNCHES $20M ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM
By Jared Kaltwasser/NJBIZ
August 18, 2011
A new state pilot program aims to slash the energy bills of hospitals, manufacturers and other large energy consumers while helping to meet the state’s energy efficiency goals.
The Board of Public Utilities on Thursday announced the launch of the Large Energy Users Pilot Program. The $20 million program allows qualified applicants to receive up to $1 million to offset the cost of making energy efficiency upgrades to existing buildings.
Greg Reinert, a BPU spokesman, said the money for the program will come from the Clean Energy Program, which receives funding from the Societal Benefits Charge included in ratepayers’ electricity bills.
Lee A. Solomon, BPU’s president, said in a prepared statement that the new program aligns with the goals set out in Gov. Chris Christie’s Energy Master Plan draft.
“The Draft 2011 State Energy Master Plan identified energy efficiency as a priority in our efforts to reduce energy costs for all ratepayers, and improve the reliability of the regional grid,” Solomon said. “This pilot program encourages the level of investment required to achieve significant energy savings for large energy users, while advancing the state’s goal of reducing energy consumption.”
Reinert said the BPU believes the program will ultimately create jobs by lowering large employers’ energy bills.
To qualify, an energy user must have made at least $300,000 worth of Societal Benefits Charge payments in 2010, and the user must have an annual billed peak demand of at least 400 kilowatts.
The exact award a user receives will be based on the total cost of the project as well as energy savings, though no individual award will exceed $1 million.
Program participants can also apply for funding from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which has set up a revolving loan fund to provide low-interest loans of between $250,000 and $2.5 million for energy efficiency upgrades.
Applicants to the Large Energy Users Pilot Program must submit a pre-qualification document by Sept. 26 to be considered. After a review, the BPU said 25 applicants will be selected to submit a full draft energy efficiency plan to reserve funding for their projects. Details are available on the state’s Clean Energy Program website.