For the second consecutive year, FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is teaming with Sustainable Jersey to sponsor the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship program, which places graduate students with local municipalities and school districts in JCP&L’s service area to evaluate and implement projects that help improve the energy performance of their facilities.
Sustainable Jersey, a network of municipalities and school districts that work collectively with state agencies and nonprofit organizations to advance sustainability, is administering the program in the state in conjunction with the Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey. This year, the program has paired six Climate Corps Fellows with 17 municipalities and three school districts in Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Union counties.
Within the JCP&L service area, Climate Corps Fellows will be placed with Tewksbury Township in Hunterdon County, Helmetta Borough in Middlesex County, Chatham Borough in Morris County and Summit Public Schools in Union County. The Climate Corps Fellows are compensated through funding provided by sponsoring New Jersey utilities, including JCP&L.
“New Jersey’s commitment to being a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency is part of what makes our state such a fantastic place to live and work,” said Jim Fakult, president of New Jersey operations for FirstEnergy. “Improving energy efficiency will provide long-term environmental and economic benefits for our communities, and we’re proud to welcome the 2022 class of EDF Fellows.”
In recent years, Climate Corps Fellows in New Jersey have conducted energy audits, developed clean energy action plans and trained local officials on tracking and data management processes for monitoring energy performance. The impacts of their proposals and recommendations include:
Wael Bou Ajram, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, helped the towns identify and document a total reduction of 1.1 million kWh of electricity consumption and trained five employees on energy tracking and management practices. His proposed energy efficiency projects projected a total savings of approximately $50,000 for the municipalities and school district.
“Providing our municipalities and schools with hands-on help to advance complex climate and sustainable energy projects contributes to progress at the local level and toward the goal of a sustainable New Jersey,” said Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon. “Since 2015, Climate Corps Fellows have been offering their technical expertise to help New Jersey municipal and school district leaders find solutions to today’s sustainability challenges.”
Since the program’s inception in 2008, over 1,200 EDF Climate Corps Fellows have been placed in more than 540 leading organizations spanning the United States and China. They have collectively helped identify energy savings worth more than $1.6 billion, the equivalent of 2.2 million metric tons in carbon emissions.
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