New Jersey grants will help 46 communities make clean energy plans

An installation of Solar Landscape in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) today approved Community Energy Plan Grants (CEPG) for: 46 municipalities throughout New Jersey, totaling $820,000. In late 2021, the council redesigned the program to place greater emphasis on justice and overburdened municipalities. The redesigned program also simplified the grant application process and reduced barriers to using the program.

The CEPG program empowers local communities to create community energy plans that align with the state’s energy master plan, the roadmap to achieve Governor Murphy’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. The program encourages communities to develop local community energy plans to combat climate change with a specific focus on equal access, energy resilience, renewable energy and efficiency.

“Municipalities have tremendous authority over our energy future,” said Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Board of Public Utilities to create a program that helps municipalities identify and implement strategies to address climate change and build a sustainable energy future.”

Sustainable Jersey will provide technical assistance to grant applicants and in preparing community energy plans for congested municipalities.

There are two grant levels in the redesigned program. All municipalities are eligible for $10,000 awards. However, overburdened municipalities are eligible for a larger $25,000 compensation, as well as enhanced support, including technical assistance developing and submitting an application, and assistance creating a plan if a grant is awarded. Congested municipalities were defined using both the Department of Environmental Protection’s “Congested Community” census data and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Municipal Revitalization Index.

When the grants were awarded, the Board found that the 46 municipalities had all submitted complete applications and were therefore eligible for a grant. In total, 24 of the 46 approved applications come from overburdened municipalities. By redesigning the grant program, the council was able to increase access to communities that have historically had low levels of participation in state clean energy initiatives and are closer to meeting Governor Murphy’s clean energy goals.

News item from NJBPU

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