What We Can Learn from New Jersey’s Power Plan

Two years on from Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey is still thinking about the effects of the storm, looking for ways to mitigate the effects of a similar disaster in the future, to protect residents and infrastructure. A piece on nj.com is looking at what the state is doing with its power grid to prevent widespread outages when the next storm rolls in. According to the article, the storm cut out power for 2.8 million customers and at least a third of New Jersey residents were without electricity for six days or more.

The nj.com article says that the state’s largest utility company, Public Service Electric & Gas, won approval in May for its program, called Energy Strong. Officials called it the “largest infrastructure investment settlement approved by the state Board of Public Utilities.”

Here’s what PSE&G says on its website about the program. As part of Energy Strong, PSE&G says it will make these investments during the next few years:

  • $620 million to protect, raise or relocate 29 switching and substations that were damaged by water in recent storms.
  • $350 million to replace and modernize 250 miles of low-pressure cast iron gas mains in or near flood areas.
  • $100 million to create redundancy in the system, reducing outages when damage occurs.
  • $100 million to deploy smart grid technologies to better monitor system operations to increase our ability to more swiftly deploy repair teams.
  • $50 million to protect five natural gas metering stations and a liquefied natural gas station affected by Sandy or located in flood zones.

In other efforts, Ron Morano, a spokesman for Jersey Central Power & Light, told nj.com that “the company plans to invest more than $250 million on work that includes inspecting circuits at substations to proactively identify and replace equipment, implementing automatic circuit switching and ties to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, and trimming trees along 3,400 miles of lines, among other measures.”

Another initiative is the Energy Resilience Bank. The nj.com article reports: “With federal Sandy aid, the state has also launched several programs geared at keeping the power on at critical facilities even when the larger grid fails. The $200 million New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank started accepting applications from water and wastewater treatment plants this month. The bank aims to support the development of distributed energy resources, such as combined heat and power, fuel cells and off-grid solar inverters with battery storage.”

The state also launched a $25-million energy grant program, according to nj.com. The program was launched “to help local governments pay for generators and other alternative energy options and set aside $7 million in federal funding to install generators and backup power supplies at gas stations.”

 

For more insight on what New Jersey is doing to protect its power grid and prevent outages in future storms, see the original article here: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2014/10/sandy_utilities_power.html
For a press release about the Energy Resilience Bank, click here: http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/newsroom/announcements/pdf/20141020_erb_press.pdf
For more information on Energy Strong, click here: https://www.pseg.com/family/pseandg/energy_strong/index.jsp