New Jersey Recently Surpassed 4 Gigawatts of Solar-Generated Electricity

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) recently announced that New Jersey recently surpassed 4 gigawatts of solar-generated electricity produced by more than 157,000 solar installations statewide. This is enough “clean energy” to provide electricity to over 500,000 New Jersey households annually.  The NJBPU estimates that solar capacity in New Jersey could double in the next four years.  Clean energy generated by solar and wind power are key components to reach New Jersey’s goal to reduce carbon emissions in the state by 50% by 2030 and by 100% by 2050.

The NJBPU continues to move forward with a variety of solar programs, which include:

      • Community Solar Energy Program: After a two-year pilot program, NJBPU estimates during the third quarter of 2022, the NJBPU will issue the permanent program straw proposal. In the first year of the pilot program, the NJBPU approved 45 applications, with the capacity to generate about 78 MW in solar energy.  In the second year of the pilot program, the NJBPU approved 105 projects, with the capacity to generate about 165 MW in solar energy. These projects combined have the cumulative capacity to serve approximately 24,000 low to moderate income subscribers;


      • Competitive Solar Incentive (CSI) Program: The NJBPU continues to advance the development of its Competitive Solar Incentive (CSI) Program for grid supply and large net-metered solar. NJBPU has issued a straw proposal and has held three public comment sessions. NJBPU anticipates launching this program later in 2022;


      • Dual-Use Solar Pilot Program:  The NJBPU will be working to develop and implement a Dual-Use solar pilot program. NJBPU anticipates issuing a straw proposal later in the year;


      • Grid Modernization:  The NJBPU continues to move forward with its Grid Modernization proceeding to solicit ideas for potential improvements to enable faster interconnection and higher levels of distributed energy resource (DER) integration. In June 2022, a draft report was presented at a public meeting with recommendations for interconnection reform.


  • For more information about New Jersey’s solar programs, please contact Alan P. Fox, Esq.

Biden Declares Climate Change an “Existential Treat”

On July 20 2022, President Joe Biden called climate change an “existential threat” and unveiled new policies to fight its effects in response to Senator Joe Manchin’s objection to the Biden Administration’s proposed Federal wind legislation, which would create thousands of union jobs and offer more than $12 billion in annual capital incentives for wind projects located on both coastlines of the United States.

Senator Manchin represents West Virginia, which is a state dependent on the coal and natural gas industries. The Senator has personally made his wealth from the coal industry.  Senator Manchin has stated his objection to Biden’s proposed federal legislation is based on a deep concern about recent U.S. inflation. Manchin has suggested he might be open to considering a legislation package that includes climate and tax measures in September 2022, after further reports on U.S. Inflation.

“Climate change is an existential threat,” Biden said at a former coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts that’s being re-purposed to support wind power generation. “Since Congress is not acting as it should — and these guys here are but we’re not getting many Republican votes — this is an emergency, an emergency, and I will look at it that way,” the President said. However, President Biden held back on declaring a formal climate emergency.

Biden’s climate change policies encourage offshore wind development in new areas along the US Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Biden is directing federal regulators to propose the first wind energy areas for development in the Gulf — a step toward auctioning leases to build the renewable projects.  Bloomberg Law reports, “Although Biden is directing Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to advance wind energy development in the southern Atlantic and along Florida’s Gulf Coast, he held off on reversing an order by former President Donald Trump that ruled out new offshore energy leases in those waters”, which could trigger unwelcomed opposition by Congress.

The Biden Administration climate change policy goals includes developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, with auctions of territory near California expected later in 2022, and, ultimately, lease sales on almost every US coast.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is moving forward with new offshore lease sales and plans to expedite review for operation plans. New ports and factories will need to be developed and constructed closer to the coast lines to service the wind industry.

For more information about New Jersey’s offshore wind programs, please contact Alan P. Fox, Esq.


Solar Update Regarding Extension Requests of Transition Incentive Program Deadlines

On June 8, 2022, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities issued an Order conditionally granting a petition which requested an extension to the project’s solar Transition Incentive (“TI”) Program registration deadline. As part of this Order, the Board has defined a set of criteria to identify similarly situated projects which may be eligible for a comparable extension.

If you have a TI project that is approaching a registration deadline, please contact Alan P. Fox, Esq., Chair of the firm’s Alternative Energy Group, to explore whether your project is eligible for a comparable extension.


Biden Administration Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Domestic Manufacturing in Clean Energy Sectors

On June 6, 2022, the White House released a statement authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to build up domestic production of solar panels, electric transformers, heat pumps, insulation and hydrogen-related equipment.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could support those sectors through commitments to buy clean energy products from U.S. manufacturers; direct investments in facilities; and aid for clean energy installations in homes, military sites and businesses. Pending legislation (the Energy Security and Independence Act) would provide $100 billion in DPA funding for the clean energy sector.

The White House reports the expansion to domestic solar manufacturing capacity will grow the current capacity of 7.5 gigawatts by an additional 15 gigawatts, enabling 3.3 million homes to switch to clean solar energy. President Biden also urges Congress to pass tax cuts and additional investments that advance U.S. clean energy manufacturing and deployment.

Specifically, the White House is authorizing the DOE to rapidly expand U.S. manufacturing of the following five clean energy technologies:

    1. Solar panel parts including photovoltaic modules and module components;
    2. Building insulation;
    3. Heat pumps;
    4. Equipment for making and using clean energy-generated fuels, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related platinum group metals; and
    5. Power grid infrastructures such as transformers.

Update on NJ Solar Incentive Program

In August 2021, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“NJBPU”) launched the Administratively Determined Incentive (“ADI”) Program megawatt (“MW”). The program provides incentives to eligible solar facilities that are net metered residential, net metered non-residential 5 megawatts and eligible community solar on an interim basis. New registrations for each MW block are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until either (1) the MW block is fully subscribed or (2) the capacity allocation expires at the end of the Energy Year, whichever occurs first.

The NJBPU recently set ADI Program block allocations for Energy Year 2023 (“EY2023”), which runs from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023. These MW block allocations are now in effect.

The EY2023 MW block allocations are as follows:

      • Net metered residential projects: 150 MW
      • Net metered non-residential projects (5MW and below): 150 MW +  any unused EY2022 capacity
      • Community solar: 150 MW
      • Interim subsection (t): 75 MW, or approximately 3 months from the Competitive Solar Incentive (“CSI”) Program’s first solicitation, whichever occurs first.

The ADI Program will therefore carry forward without interruption. The Board has made no change to the ADI Program incentive values at this time.


Offshore Wind Training Being Developed in New Jersey

New Jersey is a leader in the USA’s efforts to establish domestic, sustainable, clean energy resources through wind power. With the help of grant funding from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) will soon offer affordable degrees and certificates for a successful career in the growing offshore wind industry.

RCSJ announced it is a recipient of the NJEDA’s “NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge,” a competitive grant program to create educational opportunities for New Jersey residents seeking to enter the offshore wind industry. In collaboration with the NJEDA and the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, three academic partners, South Jersey labor unions and global training powerhouse, Maersk Training, RCSJ will offer a Global Wind Organization (GWO) certified Basic Technical Training credential along with a Wind Turbine Technician Career Certificate program that will lead to a credit-bearing, stackable credential at the profession’s entry level.

RCSJ plans to launch its Basic Technical Training and Wind Turbine Technician certificate programs in January 2023. The Associate of Applied Science degree will follow in September 2023.

Wind turbine technician ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Maintenance and Repair Jobs for 2022,” and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has proclaimed it the second-fastest growing occupation in the country, with a projected 68% increase in job growth by 2030 and a median annual salary of $56,230.


Solar Energy Projects – Ensuring a Timely and Smooth Transaction and Obtaining Necessary Development Approvals

The goal of every developer for a photovoltaic solar energy project is to ensure a timely and smooth transaction and obtaining necessary development approvals.

Identifying wetlands and wetland buffers, local tree ordinances, access easements and storm water management issues are just a few of the hurdles that a land use attorney must address.

    • Does your purchase or lease agreement contain an adequate due diligence provision affording you full protection and the right to access?
    • Do you have a strategy if your due diligence investigation discloses environmental issues?
    • Have you identified the land use issues related to easements, wetlands, storm water management, buffering, security, interconnection and other issues necessary for site plan approval?
    • What are best practices for due diligence investigation for underground tanks, wetlands, soil suitability and tree removal?
    • What are practical solutions and considerations when faced with lack of access?

Armed with the knowledge and experience to cure land use issues related to developing a solar energy system, assistance is needed in spotting these issues and providing practical and effective solutions to the permitting process to ensure your transaction proceeds on time and with few surprises.

Alan P. Fox, Esq., Chair of the firm’s Alternative Energy Group, has over 30 years of experience in land use practice in New Jersey.  He is ready to review these and other challenging matters in connection with a purchase agreement, lease agreement or option agreement, as well as land use approvals and permits related for your ground mounted, canopy and combined roof top photovoltaic solar energy project.

Please contact Alan if you are considering developing a photovoltaic solar energy project in New Jersey to ensure a timely transaction and obtaining the necessary development approvals.


Construction of Monopile Factories in Paulsboro, New Jersey

In anticipation of the proposed offshore wind turbine network in New Jersey, the Mayor of Paulsboro, NJ recently reported that two steel plants to fabricate monopiles are under construction and expected to be completed before the end of 2022. The port-based facility is expected to employ more than 500 people.

The fabrication facility is planned to have four buildings in operation in an area of the port terminal. The South Jersey Port Authority recently filed with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection for three permits necessary to commence work on the third and fourth buildings.

Capehart Scatchard is ready to assist any company interested locating, purchasing, opening and operating an office, warehouse or and/or manufacturing facility in New Jersey to become part of the expanding offshore wind industry.


Senate Passes Bankruptcy Bill by 70-28, White House May Veto

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) reported that on December 7, 2000, the Senate passed H.R. 2415, the bankruptcy bill conference report, sending the bill to President Clinton for what will likely be the final step in the process during this Congress. This bill – the most significant change to the Bankruptcy Code in the last 20 years – is now closer to enactment than at any time during the last four years. This bill faces a threatened White House veto.

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