SENATE, No. 1714

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 17, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Creates Office of Clean Energy in BPU.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act creating the Office of Clean Energy and supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Office of Clean Energy Act.”

 

     2.    The Legislature finds and determines that:

     a.     As New Jersey’s population increases and its economy expands, the State’s demand for energy will continue to grow as well.

     b.    Current energy costs already place a significant financial burden on the residents and businesses of the State, and any increase in demand could increase prices further.

     c.     As demand for energy increases and easily accessible sources of energy become depleted, the environmental ramifications of meeting the State’s energy needs are exacerbated.

     d.    The source from which energy is derived, the manner in which energy is transmitted, and the efficiency with which energy is used can all have considerable economic and environmental impacts on the State.

     e.     It is therefore in the public interest for the State to have an Office of Clean Energy, which is dedicated to the mission of improving the efficiency of energy distribution and usage, and to reducing the State’s reliance on fuels that create pollution by increasing the proportion of energy used in the State that is derived from clean and renewable sources.

 

     3.    As used in P.L.     , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     “Board” means the Board of Public Utilities.

     “Office” means the Office of Clean Energy, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.     , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     4.    a.  There is hereby created in the Board of Public Utilities an Office of Clean Energy to coordinate the State’s programs to improve energy efficiency and reduce the amount of pollution emitted through the generation, transmission, and use of energy in the State.

     b.    The office shall be headed by a director who shall be appointed by, and shall serve at the pleasure of, the president of the board.  The director shall be a person qualified by training, experience, or both, to direct the work of the office.  In appointing the director, the president of the board may select from, but shall not be restricted to, any employee of the board.

     c.     The director, under the supervision of the president of the board, shall organize the work of the office and may establish subdivisions and delegate to subordinate employees in the office such powers or duties as may be necessary, proper, and expedient to carry out the purposes of P.L.     , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The director may formulate rules and regulations for the board’s consideration.

     d.    The office’s director, staff, and programs may be funded through the use of a portion of the monies received by the board from the societal benefits charge, collected pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60).  Nothing in P.L.     , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be interpreted to restrict the board's discretion to set the level of the societal benefits charge.  Should the board determine to reduce or eliminate the societal benefits charge or take any action that might implicate the funding of the activities of the office, the board may assess the continuing needs of the office and institute alternative funding options, to the extent permitted by law.

 

     5.    The mission of the office shall be to implement initiatives consistent with the energy master plan adopted pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1977, c.146 (C.52:27F-14), including but not limited to, initiatives to:

     a.     improve the efficiency of energy distribution and usage in the State; and

     b.    reduce the State’s reliance on fuels that create pollution by maximizing, to the extent practicable, the proportion of energy used in the State that is derived from clean and renewable sources.

 

     6.    It shall be the function of the office to:

     a.     Develop, draft, issue, and update as necessary a clean energy plan.  The clean energy plan shall be consistent with the goals of the energy master plan and shall include programs and measures to accomplish the mission of the office, including but not limited to, all clean energy programs funded by the societal benefits charge, renewable energy certificates, or federal monies, and all utility managed clean energy programs;

     b.    Conduct research and draft and issue reports on clean energy policy issues, including issues contemplated by the energy master plan, programs run by other states, technologies, and products that are related to the mission of the office;

     c.     Create programs that will assist the office in fulfilling its mission;

     d.    Respond to invitations to testify before legislative committees on matters related to its mission; and

     e.     Coordinate educational programs and publish educational material related to its mission.

     7.    a.  The office shall draft and issue an annual report that describes the clean energy programs administered by the office, which shall include but need not be limited to: (1) all clean energy programs funded by the societal benefits charge, renewable energy certificates, or federal monies, and all utility managed clean energy programs; and (2) detailed financial information about each such program.  The office shall transmit copies of the report to the board, the Governor, and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), the Legislature.

     b.    The office shall draft and issue any other report that is requested by the board or required by law and transmit copies of any such report to the board, the Governor, and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), the Legislature.

 

     8.    The board may, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the provisions of sections 2 through 7 of P.L.     , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     9.    This act shall take effect on the 60th day after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes in law the Office of Clean Energy which currently exists as a non-statutory office in the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).  The office will coordinate the State’s programs to improve energy distribution and the use of non-polluting energy sources.

     The bill would authorize the office and all of its programs to be funded through the societal benefits charge, as the office is currently funded.

     The office would implement initiatives consistent with the State energy master plan, including initiatives to: (1) improve the efficiency of energy distribution and usage in the State; and (2) reduce the State’s reliance on fuels that create pollution by maximizing, to the extent practicable, the proportion of energy used in the State that is derived from clean and renewable sources.

     The bill directs the office to issue and update a clean energy plan.  The clean energy plan would be required to be consistent with the goals of the energy master plan.  The bill further directs the office to conduct research and issue reports on clean energy policy issues, programs of other states, and clean energy technologies and products.       Finally, the office is required to issue an annual report and transmit that report to BPU, the Governor and the Legislature.