A recent decision by New Jersey utility regulators to standardize energy efficiency procedures for commercial buildings could have a major impact – not just on the Garden State – but on energy markets nationwide.
The reason: It gives investors more confidence in performance and returns which is exactly what can fuel a big push to make buildings across the United States more efficient. It might eventually transform our energy efficiency market into an economic power house. Read More
The large-scale adoption of energy efficiency in buildings is a key to achieving a cleaner environment, lower utility bills, and more comfort for customers. But increasing private capital investment in the energy efficiency market has been a big challenge.
Environmental Defense Fund’s Investor Confidence Project (ICP) addresses one specific barrier to more energy efficiency investment: the lack of trust investors and building owners have in projected energy and cost savings. ICP offers protocols that define industry best practices for energy efficiency project development and a credentialing system that provides third-party validation.
By standardizing the process by which energy efficiency projects are developed and measured – and creating a new Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ asset class as an end result – investors can more easily finance energy efficiency projects and have more confidence in the energy and financial savings expected from these projects.
While many states have made great strides promoting the policies and incentives to spur private investment in energy efficiency projects, my home state of New Jersey is getting serious about it.
Since Hurricane Sandy exposed the vulnerability of New Jersey’s antiquated power grid, the state has been investing heavily in enhancing the grid’s resilience and promoting clean energy technologies to upgrade to a smarter, more flexible system that can keep people safe and warm when they need it most.
However, as I explain in my NJ Spotlight op-ed published today, limited public funds alone will not be enough to build the state’s clean energy future.
Private capital investment is key to establishing the large-scale, clean energy markets needed to ultimately save customers money, increase grid resiliency, and slash harmful pollution.
New Jersey has already made a step in the right direction with the launch of the Energy Resilience Bank, which was set up with $210 million of federal funds to finance resilient energy systems operating the state’s critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities. Read More
Superstorm Sandy crippled much of New Jersey’s critical infrastructure when it swept through the state two years ago. Stuck without power at home, many of the state’s residents also couldn’t get to work because the operations center for New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) flooded, damaging backup power systems, emergency generation, and the computer system that controls train operations.
New Jersey is doing its best to make sure that won’t happen again. After a highly competitive grant process, NJ Transit last week received $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve the resilience of the state’s transportation system in the event of devastating future storms. The funds include $410 million to develop the NJ TransitGrid into a first-of-its-kind microgrid capable of keeping the power running when the electric grid goes down.
Microgrids are different from traditional electric grids in that they generate electricity on-site or nearby where it’s consumed. They can connect to the larger grid or island themselves and operate independently. Read More
New Jersey has proposed using federal Sandy relief funds to set up an Energy Resilience Bank that would fund projects to make the state’s energy infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme weather events. The Bank is an innovative proposal that will help New Jersey prepare for the future in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, causing human loss and suffering that continues for many today.
Climate change increases the likelihood that New Jersey will continue to be buffeted by storms such as Sandy, which exposed and underscored the need to upgrade to a more resilient, low-carbon energy infrastructure when a third of the state lost power for nearly a week. The Energy Resilience Bank, which will be capitalized at $210 million, would help expedite this process, allowing the state to keep the lights on and residents safer during the next storm. Read More
When Hurricane Sandy barreled through our country’s Northeast nearly a year ago, ravaging coastlines and submerging entire neighborhoods, New Jersey suffered catastrophic effects. The state suffered more than $30 billion in damage, most of it along the Jersey shore, while an estimated 2.6 million households lost power, many of them for weeks. Five days after Sandy hit, a third of New Jersey’s homes and businesses still did not have electricity.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie immediately sought to restore the state’s most vital infrastructure and was tireless in attracting funds for the relief effort. However, it became clear that it was imperative to not just repair damage caused by Sandy but to upgrade and modernize the state’s outmoded, century-old grid to prevent damage from the next superstorm.
Last week, Governor Christie took a positive step toward upgrading to a smarter, more flexible power grid, which is crucial to resilience, safety, and storm recovery. He announced the allocation of $25 million in federal funds to local governments to develop alternative energy projects designed to make New Jersey’s energy infrastructure resilient and reliable in the face of power outages.