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RELEASE:Environmentalist File Motion to Reconsider Powerline

Date : Thu, 03 Feb 2011 17:18:26 -0500

 

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2011 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Environmentalist File Motion to Reconsider Powerline

PSE&G's controversial Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line may be headed back before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) under a motion for reconsideration filed today by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations opposing the project because it undermines the state's clean energy goals by importing coal-fired energy from Pennsylvania .

Since the project was last considered by the BPU in April 2010, New Jersey has made major progress in pursuing clean energy solutions to ensure grid reliability. The Legislature has either already approved or is in the process of approving thousands of megawatts of new generation from wind, solar, and natural gas. New Jersey has one of the most robust solar programs in the country, and that portfolio continues to grow. Offshore wind is becoming a reality and energy demand continues to drop. A new Energy Master Plan will be released next month changing the energy priorities of the state. These new developments underscore that the Susquehanna-Roseland line is not needed and will only be a waste of ratepayer money that hurts the environment.

The organizations are questioning the BPU's approval of the project based on contentions by PSE&G that if the Susquehanna-Roseland line was not constructed by 2012, New Jersey's grid reliability would be compromised and rolling brownouts and blackouts could possibly occur. The project has experienced permitting delays at the NJ DEP and the National Park Service moving the in-service date back to 2015. PSE&G asserts that the delay to allow for environmental reviews by NPS and DEP will not compromise grid reliability as the company will retrofit generating facilities to meet energy demand needs in the interim.

"The BPU must reopen the Susquehanna-Roseland proceedings so we can get to the truth," said Jeff Tittel, Director of NJ Sierra Club. "Either PSE&G was lying when they said the line had to be in-service by 2012 to prevent massive blackouts or they are lying now saying the grid will be fine until 2015. The ratepayers that will be left to foot the $750 million bill if this project is constructed deserve to know which is true."

Energy demand in the PJM region, which includes New Jersey, continues to drop as energy efficiency and demand response measures become more popular. Since the BPU last heard this matter, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) latest Reliability Assessment found that while total demand is still projected to increase in most regions, it will do so at a slower pace and from a lower starting point and that summer peak demand, which the Susquehanna-Roseland is being constructed to address, has decreased significantly for the past two years. Additionally 757 megawatts of energy efficiency and demand response resources were offered in the most recent PJM auction, a 33% over last year, with 680 megawatts clearing to serve as a firm capacity resource.

"Energy efficiency and demand response resources have advanced to a position of offering a clean, viable means of meeting summer peak demand," said Jeff Tittel. "Instead of promoting continued dependence on polluting fossil fuels that jeopardize our environmental and public health, New Jersey should continue to implement demand response to meet our peak demand needs."

Environmental groups contend that grid reliability can be achieved by promoting green, renewable energy infrastructure instead of turning to antiquated solutions like the Susquehanna-Roseland line. The GTM Research Group predicts that nationally solar installations are poised to grow about 50 percent annually through 2013. This is bolstered by recent legislation to allow solar panels on landfills and a bill to streamline the permitting process for solar installations. New Jersey's solar program is expected to add 400 mw to the grid this year alone. Since the BPU proceedings in April, New Jersey has passed the Offshore Wind Development Act to subsidize the construction of 1,100 MW of off-shore wind. The state's clean energy future should not be compromised by a project that increases our dependence on coal plants.

"New Jersey continues to be a leader in renewable energy making an expansion of coal-fired energy capacity entirely inappropriate" said Jeff Tittel. "We must continue investing in our clean energy future, not funding dirty projects that hurt our lungs and ratepayer's wallets."

Governor Christie recently signed legislation to subsidize 2,000 MW of new natural gas generation through the construction of four new power plants in the state. PSE&G lobbied against the legislation, stating that due to the downturn in the economy PJM forecasts found that New Jersey would not meet previously projected forecast loads for 2014 until 2020.

The New Jersey Sierra Club along with New Jersey Highlands Coalition, Stop the Lines, Environment New Jersey, and New Jersey Environmental Federation will be represented by Earth Justice and the Eastern Environmental Law Center in filing the motion.

"This project is unnecessary, bad for the environment, bad for ratepayers, and undermines all the work New Jersey is doing on clean energy and energy efficiency," said Jeff Tittel.   Kate Millsaps, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club 145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618 609.656.7612 (f) 609.656.7618  <http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org/> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org  

att4a7e4.jpg Received on 2011-02-03 14:18:26

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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