Public Service Electric & Gas officials were ecstatic Wednesday afternoon after the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved a number of programs in their Clean Energy Future proposal that will help the state save billions while becoming more energy-efficient.
PSE&G officials said the decision by the BPU clears the way for the state’s largest utility to commit $1 billion toward energy efficiency investments over the next three years — which will represent a big step toward achieving Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy vision.
The energy efficiency programs are designed to help New Jersey customers save more than $1 billion while the state avoids 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions through 2050.
The programs also will create 3,200 direct jobs and 1,100 indirect jobs, most of which will be in underserved communities. (Read more here.)
Public Service Enterprise Group Chair and CEO Ralph Izzo called it a great day for New Jersey and anyone who wants to address climate change.
“Today’s decision will allow us to bring the benefits of energy efficiency to every customer and give them options to reduce their energy use, save money and shrink their carbon footprint,” he said. “New Jersey now has the opportunity to be at the forefront of clean energy policy and be a role model for the nation.”
PSE&G said its $1 billion investment in energy efficiency, including customer programs and information technology platforms, will drive significant progress toward achieving Murphy’s clean energy agenda. The program’s energy-saving measures, which include rebates for energy-efficient appliances and equipment, will help reduce New Jersey’s carbon emissions.
PSE&G officials said the programs will:
- Help the state achieve the BPU’s preliminary energy savings targets of 2.15% for electricity and 1.1% for gas within five years.
- Help lift New Jersey into the Top 5 U.S. states for both electric and gas savings.
Better yet, the programs are not at odds with the business community. In addition to the more than 4,000 jobs created, PSEG estimates that 70% of the programs are designed to help business customers lower their energy consumption and costs.
Karen Reif, PSE&G’s vice president for renewables and energy solutions, was equally thrilled by the news.
“It’s a big win for New Jersey customers,” she told ROI-NJ. “It’s been years in the making, it brings energy efficiency benefits, it will help the environment and the climate, and it’s going to achieve Gov. Murphy’s clean energy goals.
“And it comes at the right time to help New Jersey recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. So, it’s really a win-win-win.”
Reif noted five programs that are specifically designed for commercial and industrial consumers. The utility hopes to launch all of them in Q1 and Q2 of 2021:
- C&I Small Nonresidential Efficiency: Otherwise known as direct install, this program promises rebates and on-bill repayment for direct-installed energy efficiency measures to small nonresidential customers of lighting, controls, refrigeration and HVAC.
“This program is targeted for small businesses,” she said. “We’re going to help them improve their energy efficiency, which helps the environment and helps them save money on their bill. We’ll do this by providing them a rebate, the difference between the regular and the energy efficiency model of things such as lighting.”
- C&I Engineered Solutions: This program is whole-building engineered energy-saving solutions for hospitals, school districts, municipalities, multifamily apartments and other nonprofit/public entities.
“This if for larger buildings,” Reif said “It’s an extension of the university and multifamily programs that we provide today.”
- C&I Prescriptive: This program provides rebates and on-bill repayment for HVAC, lighting, motors and drives, refrigeration, water heaters, air compressors and food service equipment.
- C&I Custom: This program is for large energy efficiency projects.
“Rather than the traditional out-of-the-box solutions, this is customizing the solution,” Reif said. “If you have a production line and you need to figure out a better way to save energy, we’ll come in and work with companies.”
- C&I Energy management: A smaller program, this involves retro-commissioning and strategic energy management.
“It will optimize existing programs with little to no equipment upgrades,” Reif said.
Reif stressed the programs have something for everyone.
“Every customer can save money in these programs,” she said. “So, we want everybody to participate. And we will be targeting low- and moderate-income communities, to make sure everyone can take part.”
PSE&G President Dave Daly agreed.
“We are committed to ensuring that all of our customers and the communities we serve get an opportunity to share in the benefits of this program, including lower energy bills, new jobs and cleaner air,” he said.
“This large-scale commitment to energy efficiency is the cornerstone for PSEG to make further progress as a leading provider of sustainable energy,” Izzo said. “That commitment includes other clean energy investments, methane-reduction initiatives and zero-carbon nuclear generation.”
Separate PSE&G Clean Energy Future proposals pending before the BPU would help New Jersey meet the state’s energy storage goals, reduce emissions from the transportation sector and modernize customer communications through advanced metering.
Izzo hopes he’ll be able to celebrate those initiatives down the line. For now, he’s happy to take joy in Wednesday’s announcement.
“How appropriate that, during Climate Week, New Jersey has taken this vital step to pursue energy efficiency, the most cost-effective approach to addressing climate change,” he said.