Monday, August 31, 2015

New Jersey's Energy Future

NJ Energy Master Plan

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has requested comments on updates to New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, which lays out a strategic vision for the State’s energy future. COA urged a wide scale implementation of conservation and efficiency measures as NJ’s first energy choice. They are the most cost effective, environmentally friendly choice, and studies have shown can dramatically reduce energy usage. NJ has fallen behind in the transition to clean energy, and a revised Energy Master Plan is a first step in making our state a leader in this field once again. More should be done to implement renewable energy technologies to replace outdated power plants, especially the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, scheduled to close in 2019, and BL England, a part-time coal plant that is seeking to retrofit to full-time natural gas with a once through cooling system.  COA is also encouraging a renewed commitment to protecting NJ’s critical energy infrastructure from the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

Pinelands Pipeline and B.L. England

Related to New Jersey’s energy future, on Friday, August 14, the Pinelands Commission issued a “certificate of filing” for the South Jersey Gas pipeline, essentially approving the controversial project without a vote by the Pinelands Commission.  The pipeline would run through the Pinelands and its watershed habitat to the B.L. England Power Plant that is being retrofitted to switch from a part-time plant to a full-time 24/7 power plant burning natural gas.  However, studies and some analyses show that the plant is not needed and that there is more than enough energy available.  Of great concern to marine life is that the plant has a once through cooling system and will withdraw water from Great Egg Harbor Bay for energy generation and cooling purposes.  COA and others were party to litigation to halt the water withdrawals led by Super Law Group, but were ultimately unsuccessful.  COA will keep you posted on this growing threat.

Salem Nuclear Generating Station

Similarly, COA is supporting Delaware Riverkeeper’s lead efforts to stop NJDEP’s recently issued permit renewal for the Salem Nuclear Generating Station that will allow continued water withdrawal and thermal discharge to the Delaware River. Under this renewed permit, Salem Nuclear Power Plant will continue to kill billions of fish and aquatic species each year, as it withdraws over 3 billion gallons of water per day, crushing larger organisms against screens and entraining anything small enough to get through the screens. NJDEP should have required cooling towers to be built by Exelon Generation LLC., the owners of the plant, which would reduce fish kills by 95%. If you would like to speak out against the NJDEP’s decision to continue to allow this destruction of Delaware Bay, email, and tell her that Salem Nuclear Power Plant should end this fish slaughter, and be required to build cooling towers.

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