The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) today approved an order opening a proceeding to create a Zero Emission Credit (ZEC) program for eligible nuclear power plants. This action is in line with legislation that Governor Murphy signed into law in May that takes critical steps to improve and expand New Jersey’s clean energy programs.
The new law will help combat climate change by maintaining New Jersey’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.
Under the ZEC program, eligible nuclear power units that demonstrate a need would be designated to receive credits to maintain the state’s nuclear energy supply.
The NJBPU was designated as the agency to create and administer a ZEC program and distribution mechanism, as stipulated in Senate Bill No. 2313.
“Nuclear power is an important piece of the state’s energy puzzle,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “The Board and its staff take seriously the responsibility to analyze nuclear power plant financial information and applications and determine whether the credits are warranted.”
By November 2018, the Board will create the ZEC program including an application process for ZEC eligibility review and a mechanism for each of the state’s electric companies to buy ZECs from the selected nuclear power plants. The process to create the program will include extensive public hearings.
As part of the program, the Board will also conduct a second proceeding to certify which applicant nuclear power units are eligible to receive ZECs and to establish a rank-ordered list of those plants that are eligible based upon the process the Board creates. Under the law this proceeding must be completed by April 2019 and it will include public input.
Additionally, President Fiordaliso has been designated as the presiding officer and is authorized to rule on all motions that arise during the ZEC program creation and implementation process.
Nuclear generation is currently the state’s largest source of carbon-free energy. As such, eligible nuclear energy generators with the ability to feed into PJM, Inc., (the Regional Transmission Operator for New Jersey) power grid footprint could be approved to provide ZECs for the state’s energy supply, which would then be purchased by the state’s four electric companies.
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