Local officials in New Brunswick are moving toward a program that calls for the city to be 100 percent reliant on clean energy by the year 2035.
The New Brunswick Community Energy Aggregation program, which is slated to be enacted later this month, calls for 30 percent of the city’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources by 2020, reaching 50 percent in 2024 and 100 percent in 2035.
The NBCEA program would enable the city to purchase energy at discounted bulk rates and set guidelines about the sources of that electricity.
Gov. Phil Murphy has previously unveiled plans to reach the 100 percent target for the entire state by 2050, and to that end, his administration is also moving forward with plans for a 3,500-megawatt offshore windfarm and an array of community solar programs.
On May 23, Murphy signed the Clean Energy Act, which requires the state’s Board of Public Utilities to adopt a regulatory framework for a Community Solar Pilot Program within 210 days of the law’s enactment.
To that end, the board held a symposium at the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus to gather proposals and hear ideas on community solar programs, which are aimed at enabling groups and individuals that lack the means to install solar panels on their own properties to be able to utilize a shared community solar system.
“The Community Solar Pilot Project is integral to Gov. Murphy’s clean energy agenda because it specifically provides access to solar to those who live in communities who have been and continue to be disadvantaged from environmental degradation and climate change,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso.
That proposal drew praise from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, which said the program, if done correctly, could benefit local businesses.
“This participation should be available to businesses as both subscribers and as hosts, as business locations may be able to site some of these projects if they are open to the concept,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. “Many business facilities have unused roofs and outdoor spaces which would be ideal locations for a new solar panel array.”