A natural gas company in New Jersey will establish programs to promote renewable energy in the state.
WALL, New Jersey – New Jersey Natural Gas Company, the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, will expand its energy efficiency programs with additional funding available through the state’s Comprehensive Resource Analysis (CRA) program. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently decided on a settlement of the CRA program that establishes programs to promote renewable energy technology and energy conservation. The CRA settlement received the support of all of the state’s utilities, as well as certain environmental and consumer groups. BPU’s decision calls for increases in statewide funding for renewable energy programs and energy conservation initiatives. These programs are expected to reduce overall energy consumption, promote the use of clean technologies and improve New Jersey’s environment. “Energy efficiency and use of green power technologies can help to conserve resources, while offering environmental and public health benefits,” says NJNG chairman and CEO Laurence Downes. “We are pleased to offer our customers the added benefits of these programs.” Across New Jersey, the programs will provide incentives for the purchase of natural gas heating, cooling and water heating equipment. To promote the use of renewable technologies, the program will provide rebates for residential and commercial owners who install solar PV systems, wind generators and fuel cell systems. NJNG’s renewable energy programs will focus on promoting the use of natural gas-powered fuel cells, which generate electricity on or near a customer’s property and produce less emissions than traditional grid-powered electricity. NJNG plans to use most of the additional funds to enhance existing programs. “For over 20 years, our conservation department has been active in helping customers save energy and reduce their fuel bills with high-efficiency furnaces and hot-water heaters,” adds Downes. “The additional programs offered by CRA will allow us to offer even more ways to assist customers in making educated decisions about their energy.” NJNG plans to supplement rebate programs for the purchase of energy-efficient gas appliances that comply with the federal government’s ‘Energy Star’ rating system. The company’s low-income weatherization assistance program will be expanded, and the current cap of $1,000 for weatherization materials will be lifted for cost-effective improvements. NJNG will also develop energy-efficiency programs for commercial applications that encourage businesses to incorporate energy-efficiency measures in their building design and construction. Funding for the CRA initiative will be collected by the state’s utilities through a societal benefits charge, which will replace the current demand side management (DSM) component of a customer’s bill. NJNG provides energy to 411,000 customers in New Jersey’s Monmouth and Ocean counties and parts of Morris and Middlesex counties.