PSE&G to invest $4.1B in landmark Clean Energy Future program

Public Service Electric & Gas unveiled a landmark Clean Energy Future program Thursday morning — one the company says will make critical investments in clean energy and advanced technology that would propel New Jersey’s role as a national leader in energy efficiency and jump-start other clean energy priorities.

More than that, it’s a program the company is willing to invest $4.1 billion of its own capital to implement.

Ralph Izzo, chairman, CEO and president of the utility’s parent, Public Service Enterprise Group, said the cost of the investment is well worth it.

Izzo said the plan would reduce carbon emissions by 40 million tons and potentially save customers $7.4 billion, if they take advantage of the energy efficient programs.

“PSE&G’s proposed investments support New Jersey’s clean energy goals, while putting our customers’ needs at the forefront,” he said in a statement. “The investments aim to keep bills lower than they were 10 years ago. In addition to providing safe, highly reliable service, utilities need to help their customers use less energy.

“This may be the only industry in America making a business case to sell you less of its product.”

The bulk of the proposal calls for spending $2.8 billion on energy efficiency programs, as well as hundreds of millions on electric vehicle infrastructure, energy storage and state-of-the-art electricity meters.

PSE&G said the program will result in rate increases, but the company said customers — if they implement the programs — will actually pay less, as their use will go down.

“Helping our customers use energy more efficiently is the only way to simultaneously lower bills, clean the environment and create jobs,” Izzo said.

The program will be presented to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and will be subject to the standard regulatory process.

PSEG said the filing supports the state’s progressive clean energy leadership and is consistent with the Clean Energy legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy, which requires utilities to reduce customers’ annual electric and gas consumption by 2 percent and 0.75 percent, respectively.

The proposal also will put New Jersey on the path to meeting the aggressive energy storage goals set forth in the law and supports the state’s policy to bolster electric vehicles, make the electric grid more resilient and improve storm restoration response, PSE&G said.

Dave Daly, CEO and president of PSE&G, said customers potentially could benefit from 22 energy efficiency programs.

“These programs alone are expected to produce $5.7 billion in savings for participating customers over the program’s lifetime,” Daly said. “Utilities can and should ensure that the benefits of energy efficiency are available to all customers, regardless of income.”

The Clean Energy Future program includes four areas: energy efficiency, electric vehicles, energy storage and energy cloud.

The program will introduce new opportunities, including electric school buses and smart meters, which provide real-time data and enable faster outage restoration. The program also includes a plan to implement an advanced technology platform, called the energy cloud, which would modernize the way the utility serves customers in the future, PSEG said.

Included in the announcement Thursday morning was a list of 80 companies and municipalities that have pledged support for the program.

Here is a look at ways PSE&G breaks down the program:

Energy efficiency: The nearly $2.8 billion energy efficiency plan includes $2.5 billion of investment and $283 million in other program costs. It will allow customers to use up-front rebates and other financial incentives to purchase more efficient appliances, smart thermostats and other equipment; get free and affordable energy audits, reports and system design advice; get free and low-cost energy efficiency kits, tools and installations; and seed funding for new energy-saving techniques. The plan has a special emphasis on hard-to-reach customers, such as low-income, multifamily, small business and local governments. One program, for example, will upgrade municipal streetlights in PSE&G’s service territory with LED lights.

Electric vehicles: The $364 million EV program includes approximately $261 million of investment and $103 million in other program costs. The proposal jump-starts broader use of EVs by supporting nearly 40,000 EV chargers, the bulk of which are for residential use. It includes mixed-use and public DC fast-charging. CEF also supports EV innovation, including custom projects for airports, ports and other transit facilities and grants for school districts to buy and operate electric school buses.

Energy storage: Energy storage provides more flexibility and efficiency in electric systems, makes it easier to integrate renewables and provides backup so there are fewer outages. The $180 million proposal includes approximately $109 million of investments and $71 million in other program costs. It calls for 35 megawatts of energy storage capacity over six years through five programs: solar smoothing, distribution deferral, mobile storage for outage management, microgrids for critical facilities and peak reduction for public sector facilities. CEF will begin to put New Jersey on track to meet the Clean Energy legislation’s goal of 600 megawatts of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 megawatts by 2030.

Energy cloud: PSE&G’s energy cloud will produce an estimated $1.7 billion in customer savings and operational benefits over 20 years, more than double the cost. The nearly $800 million program includes an investment of approximately $721 million and $73 million in other program costs. It improves reliability, improves customer service and reduces the carbon footprint. This major undertaking includes a plan to educate customers about the many benefits of smart meters. If approved, PSE&G intends to install the smart meters by 2024.