Trenton - In order to ensure that underserved communities have equitable access to clean energy, the Senate Environment Committee passed legislation today that would establish an Office of Clean Energy Equity within the Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The bill is sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Ronald Rice.
“Clean energy is an issue that positively impacts out environment and our economy,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “All New Jerseyans – regardless of income – should have access to clean energy and its many benefits, which include utility savings and career opportunities. The Office of Clean Energy Equity will make sure that clean energy programs are equitable, accessible and affordable for low-income families.”
“When we convert the state’s economy into a green-energy economy, we will have to make sure it also benefits poor and lower income New Jersey residents, especially those in our urban communities,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “We must provide job-training and employment opportunities to those who have been chronically left behind and who suffer the most from the years of pollution and neglect.”
The Office of Clean Energy Equity would be charged with overseeing a fair distribution of clean energy and sustainability programs, as well as the technology and infrastructure that comes with those projects, to overburdened communities. The office would establish community solar and energy efficiency programs, which would benefit 250,000 low income households by 2030 in order to lower the overall of percentage of income families spend on energy. The office would also be required to create a minimum of 400 megawatts of energy storage in overburdened communities over the same time period. Energy storage close to where the energy is generated is vital to the adoption of large scale wind and solar energy.
The bill, S-2484, was released from committee by a vote of 4-0.