Establishes green infrastructure financing program.
Sponsored by: Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex), Assemblyman DANIEL R. BENSON District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex), Assemblyman CLINTON CALABRESE District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)
This bill establishes a regulatory financing structure that authorizes New Jersey Economic Development Authority (authority), in conjunction with the Board of Public Utilities (board), to acquire and provide low-cost financing, to be deployed through a financing program to make green infrastructure equipment and installations accessible and affordable for New Jersey’s electric and gas public utility (utility) customers desiring financing for this purpose, achieve measurable cost savings, and attain the State's clean energy goals. Green infrastructure equipment is infrastructure improvements, equipment, and personal property to be installed to deploy clean energy technology, demand response technology, and energy use reduction and demand side management infrastructure.
Specifically, the bill: 1) establishes a green infrastructure loan program (loan program) for the purpose of acquiring and providing alternative low-cost financing for green infrastructure equipment and installations accessible and affordable for utility customers, through a financing program administered by the authority, and may include loans made to private entities who may lease or provide green infrastructure equipment to utility customers, as well as direct loans to utility customers, on terms approved by the authority; 2) authorizes the creation of green infrastructure property consisting of all property, rights, and interests of the loan program, which shall vest in the authority for the purpose of securing bond amounts payable under the loan program, and other financing costs; 3) establishes a green infrastructure fee, a non-bypassable bill fee imposed on and collected from those utility customers receiving a loan made to finance the purchase or installation of green infrastructure equipment on the property enhanced by the equipment under the loan program and, if there is an outstanding obligation on the loan, that obligation is to be transferred to the new property owner; 4) authorizes the authority to issue revenue bonds to finance the loan program; 5) establishes a green infrastructure fund to be administered by the authority and to receive the proceeds of the green infrastructure fee, green infrastructure property, the loan program and other monies expended on the operations of the loan program, including through credits to utility customers subject to the green infrastructure fee for reimbursement of excess green infrastructure fees collected; and 6) authorizes the authority to issue up to $200,000,000 in revenue bonds to establish and administer the loan program.
Up-front costs of green infrastructure equipment are a barrier preventing many utility customers from investing in these installations and thereby achieving lower energy costs. Existing programs may not serve the entire spectrum of New Jersey’s energy market, particularly those utility customers who lack access to capital or who cannot afford these up-front costs, thereby creating an underserved market. This measure will establish a means of acquiring and providing alternative low-cost financing to underserved markets, enabling the installation of green infrastructure equipment in those markets.
Significant investment in green infrastructure equipment will help the State achieve its goals of energy self-sufficiency and greater energy security and diversification, support its efforts to meet the State’s renewable portfolio standards and energy efficiency requirements as its energy market is evolving, and provide affordable and accessible energy options for New Jersey utility customers.