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BPU Approves Zero Emission Credit Program and Application Process for Nuclear Plants

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved a Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) program and application process for nuclear power plants. The creation of the ZEC program is a requirement of legislation signed by Governor Murphy in May. The new law will help maintain the state’s nuclear energy supply, which contributes close to 40 percent of the state’s electric capacity and is by far New Jersey’s largest source of carbon free energy.

Today’s action by the Board formally approves the ZEC application and review process, and immediately opens the application window which will close on December 19. The thorough and extensive application process requires that nuclear generating stations applying for ZECs demonstrate a clear need for these credits, ensuring ratepayer funding is allocated appropriately.

In its application review, the Board will determine the eligibility of any of the nuclear generating stations applying for ZECs, and will establish a rank-ordered list of the nuclear plants selected to receive ZECs per the law. A list of those eligible to receive ZECs, including their ranking, will be presented to the Board for approval at its April 19, 2019 agenda meeting. Only those nuclear generating facilities which have sufficiently demonstrated a need for ZECs will receive the credits.

“Nuclear power is an important part of the state’s carbon-free energy blueprint,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “As we review and rank applications we will carefully analyze all of the information presented to us by applicants to determine whether credits should be awarded.”

To determine eligibility, applicants must answer questions and provide supporting documents, studies, certifications, and/or narratives.  Additionally, each unit must:

  •  Be licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission through 2030;
  •  Demonstrate a significant and material contribution to New Jersey air quality (minimizing emissions);
  • Demonstrate anticipated plant shutdown within three years due to its financial situation; and
  • Certify that the facility does not receive any subsidies from other entities or agencies.

Two teams will evaluate the ZEC program application requirements to ensure consistency with the applicable law. The first team will conduct an initial review, and if eligible, provide the application to the second team for ranking, scoring, and comparison.

The Board also approved the Tariff modifications to implement a rate for collection by the Electric Utilities for the ZEC funding, as prescribed in the law. The rate will be $0.004 per kilowatt-hour, but collection of the tariff charge will start only if a nuclear plant is deemed eligible.

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