The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and PSEG Fossil have reached a voluntary agreement that calls for a 15 percent reduction in the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rate at New Jersey fossil-fueled power plants and a $1.5 million grant from PSEG Fossil to NJDEP to assist in the development of landfill gas projects. PSEG Fossil is an affiliate of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G), New Jersey's oldest and largest electric and gas delivery utility.
Under terms of the agreement, PSEG Fossil will reduce the aggregate CO2 emissions rate from all coal, natural gas and oil-fired power plants it owns or operates in New Jersey from a 1990 baseline of 1,706 pounds per megawatthour to 1,450 pounds per megawatthour by 2005.
"This agreement, combined with New Jersey's 15 percent green power electricity purchase, the $358 million societal benefits program and our Silver and Gold Track Program, will put us well on our way to realistically achieving our greenhouse gas reduction goals and cleaner air for all New Jersey residents," said NJDEP Commissioner Bob Shinn.
Shinn said the state's 15 percent annual green power purchase of electricity produced by renewable resources delivers 46,000 tons of annual CO2 emissions reductions and is the largest government green power purchase in the country.
The $358 million societal benefits program subsidizes the capital costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology. The Silver and Gold Track Program provides permit process incentives for companies that commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 3.5 percent below their 1990 levels.
PSEG Power President and COO Frank Cassidy noted that PSE&G was an original signer of NJDEP's April 2000 Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
"PSEG Fossil's voluntary action we're announcing today reflects ongoing support for NJDEP's leadership in marshaling and coordinating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We share Commissioner's Shinn's view that climate change is a real issue. We believe the electric power industry must play a role in addressing the problem, locally and nationally," he said.
Cassidy noted that PSEG established and reached a voluntary goal of cutting nitrogen oxide emissions 80 percent by the year 2000 and was the first energy company in the U.S. to enlist in the Clinton Administration's Global Climate Challenge which called for stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.
Shinn noted that New Jersey is the first state in the nation to set a specific goal for greenhouse gas reductions. The state's Greenhouse Gas Action Plan identifies strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 3.5 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2005.
NJDEP formed a Climate Change Workgroup with representatives from other agencies, businesses and environmental communities. Industry, colleges, counties, and municipalities have been joining in this goal.
Cassidy said PSEG Fossil will achieve the CO2 emissions rate reduction primarily through continuing its program of replacing older, less efficient electric generating equipment with new, state-of-the art technology. The company has more than 1,700 megawatts of new, natural-gas fired combined cycle generating facilities under construction in New Jersey and has plans to retire more than 400 megawatts of older, oil-fired capacity.
The $1.5 million grant will be used by NJDEP to develop projects that recover and productively use methane gas from landfills. Landfill methane has the potential to become a viable renewable energy resource for the state. Methane that escapes to the atmosphere, however, acts as a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Methane has a global warming potential 21 times greater than CO2.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])