Friday, September 5, 2014
by Andrea Vittorio
new state-sponsored bank in New Jersey soon will provide grants and loans for
making the state's critical infrastructure more resilient to power outages from
extreme weather events.
Energy Resilience Bank, the first of its kind in the country, will support
distributed energy resources and other technologies that can generate and store
power near facilities that need it. That way, critical facilities such as
hospitals could run even if the rest of the power grid goes down, potentially
saving lives and money.
bank, which has been in the works for several months, moved one step closer to
operation when it released Aug. 22 a draft
program eligibility guide
and a draft
funding guide for its first set of
resilient energy projects at water and wastewater treatment plants. The bank
expects to open for business soon after those guides are finalized in
is being funded in part by a $200 million federal disaster recovery grant
allocated to New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, which caused widespread
electrical outages in the state and others in the Northeast. The bank will
stretch those federal dollars by also tapping private sector capital.
In the aftermath of Sandy, energy
resilience is in high demand in New Jersey.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) administration announced in 2013 that it
would use $25 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to
support resilient energy projects across the state, the response from local
governments was overwhelming, with more than $469 million in requests.
is a huge challenge if we're going to create resilient power applications in
many, many critical facilities—fire, police, hospitals, food banks,
housing—that's going to require a lot of money,” said Lew Milford, president of
the Clean Energy Group, a renewable energy advocacy organization.
help fill the gap between funding demand and available resources, New Jersey's
Energy Resilience Bank wants to leverage private sector capital.
interesting and important about something like the New Jersey bank is that if
we can begin to tap capital markets to finance resilient power projects, then
we might be able to really begin to meet the challenge,” Milford told Bloomberg
BNA. “That's what this is really all about.”
Green Bank Trend.
New Jersey's Energy Resilience Bank has
been compared to government-created financial institutions in other states,
called green banks, which are focused on driving private investment toward
creating cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy.
nation's first green bank was established in Connecticut in 2011. Since then,
similar banks have been set up in Hawaii and New York, and more banks are on
the way in other states.
New Jersey bank looks similar to these green banks, but it has a narrower focus
for its project financing. New Jersey also has avoided the green bank label,
likely because of the politics behind it for the state's Republican governor.
reality for us is it's not critical that it's called a green bank,” said Jeffrey
Schub, vice president of the Coalition for Green Capital, which provides consulting services for
much more important that they implement the principles that align with other
states in the region, especially New York and Connecticut: supporting clean
energy and doing it in a way that's fiscally sustainable for the state and
makes consumers better off,” he said.
information on New Jersey's Energy Resilience Bank is available at http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/commercial/erb/.
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