ASSEMBLY, No. 4538

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 12, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOHN J. BURZICHELLI

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  TIMOTHY J. EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes approval process for proposed offshore wind energy projects and certain benefits to facilitate development of offshore wind energy.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the development of offshore wind energy projects, and supplementing and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

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

 

     1.    (New section) The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.    It is in the public interest to facilitate the development of offshore wind projects that demonstrate positive economic and environmental net benefits in order to:

     (1)   position the State to take advantage of the economic development benefits of the emerging offshore wind industry;

     (2)   promote the development of renewable energy sources that increase the nation’s energy independence from foreign sources of fossil fuels; and

     (3)   reduce the adverse environmental and health impacts of traditional fossil fuel energy sources and provide a long term protection against volatile fossil fuel prices. 

     b. To effectuate the Legislature’s findings and declarations pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the Board of Public Utilities shall:

     (1) designate each developer of a qualified offshore wind project, approved by the board, as a preferred developer of offshore wind energy for the State.;

     (2) coordinate with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the United States Department of the Interior for the bureau’s leasing of the wind energy area (WEA) or other adjacent federal waters in order to select one or more qualified offshore wind projects;

     (3) cooperate with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and any other affected parties, as appropriate, to facilitate the implementation of federal regulations that are necessary to effectuate the purposes of P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), including, but not limited to, the timely leasing of the WEA or other adjacent federal waters to the preferred developers of offshore wind energy;

     (4) object in any appropriate State or federal forum to any other project or any electric power transmission facility that would interfere with a qualified offshore wind project.

     (5) support the preferred developer of offshore wind energy in obtaining necessary federal, State, and local government permits and approvals; and

     (6) advocate on behalf of the preferred developer of offshore wind energy, where appropriate, with federal and State agencies.


     2.    Section 3 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-51) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    As used in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.):

     "Assignee" means a person to which an electric public utility or another assignee assigns, sells or transfers, other than as security, all or a portion of its right to or interest in bondable transition property.  Except as specifically provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), an assignee shall not be subject to the public utility requirements of Title 48 or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto [;].

     "Base load electric power generation facility" means an electric power generation facility intended to be operated at a greater than 50 percent capacity factor including, but not limited to, a combined cycle power facility and a combined heat and power facility [;].

     "Base residual auction" means the auction conducted by PJM, as part of PJM's reliability pricing model, three years prior to the start of the delivery year to secure electrical capacity as necessary to satisfy the capacity requirements for that delivery year [;].

     "Basic gas supply service" means gas supply service that is provided to any customer that has not chosen an alternative gas supplier, whether or not the customer has received offers as to competitive supply options, including, but not limited to, any customer that cannot obtain such service for any reason, including non-payment for services.  Basic gas supply service is not a competitive service and shall be fully regulated by the board [;].

     "Basic generation service" or "BGS" means electric generation service that is provided, to any customer that has not chosen an alternative electric power supplier, whether or not the customer has received offers for competitive supply options, including, but not limited to, any customer that cannot obtain such service from an electric power supplier for any reason, including non-payment for services.  Basic generation service is not a competitive service and shall be fully regulated by the board [;].

     "Basic generation service provider" or "provider" means a provider of basic generation service [;].

     "Basic generation service transition costs" means the amount by which the payments by an electric public utility for the procurement of power for basic generation service and related ancillary and administrative costs exceeds the net revenues from the basic generation service charge established by the board pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) during the transition period, together with interest on the balance at the board-approved rate, that is reflected in a deferred balance account approved by the board in an order addressing the electric public utility's unbundled rates, stranded costs, and restructuring filings pursuant to P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  Basic generation service transition costs shall include, but are not limited to, costs of purchases from the spot market, bilateral contracts, contracts with non-utility generators, parting contracts with the purchaser of the electric public utility's divested generation assets, short-term advance purchases, and financial instruments such as hedging, forward contracts, and options.  Basic generation service transition costs shall also include the payments by an electric public utility pursuant to a competitive procurement process for basic generation service supply during the transition period, and costs of any such process used to procure the basic generation service supply [;].

     "Board" means the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities or any successor agency [;].

     "Bondable stranded costs" means any stranded costs or basic generation service transition costs of an electric public utility approved by the board for recovery pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), together with, as approved by the board: (1) the cost of retiring existing debt or equity capital of the electric public utility, including accrued interest, premium and other fees, costs and charges relating thereto, with the proceeds of the financing of bondable transition property; (2) if requested by an electric public utility in its application for a bondable stranded costs rate order, federal, State and local tax liabilities associated with stranded costs recovery or basic generation service transition cost recovery or the transfer or financing of such property or both, including taxes, whose recovery period is modified by the effect of a stranded costs recovery order, a bondable stranded costs rate order or both; and (3) the costs incurred to issue, service or refinance transition bonds, including interest, acquisition or redemption premium, and other financing costs, whether paid upon issuance or over the life of the transition bonds, including, but not limited to, credit enhancements, service charges, overcollateralization, interest rate cap, swap or collar, yield maintenance, maturity guarantee or other hedging agreements, equity investments, operating costs and other related fees, costs and charges, or to assign, sell or otherwise transfer bondable transition property [;].

     "Bondable stranded costs rate order" means one or more irrevocable written orders issued by the board pursuant to P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) which determines the amount of bondable stranded costs and the initial amount of transition bond charges authorized to be imposed to recover such bondable stranded costs, including the costs to be financed from the proceeds of the transition bonds, as well as on-going costs associated with servicing and credit enhancing the transition bonds, and provides the electric public utility specific authority to issue or cause to be issued, directly or indirectly, transition bonds through a financing entity and related matters as provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), which order shall become effective immediately upon the written consent of the related electric public utility to such order as provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Bondable transition property" means the property consisting of the irrevocable right to charge, collect and receive, and be paid from collections of, transition bond charges in the amount necessary to provide for the full recovery of bondable stranded costs which are determined to be recoverable in a bondable stranded costs rate order, all rights of the related electric public utility under such bondable stranded costs rate order including, without limitation, all rights to obtain periodic adjustments of the related transition bond charges pursuant to subsection b. of section 15 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-64), and all revenues, collections, payments, money and proceeds arising under, or with respect to, all of the foregoing [;].

     "British thermal unit" or "Btu" means the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit [;].

     "Broker" means a duly licensed electric power supplier that assumes the contractual and legal responsibility for the sale of electric generation service, transmission or other services to end-use retail customers, but does not take title to any of the power sold, or a duly licensed gas supplier that assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to end-use retail customers, but does not take title to the gas [;].

     "Brownfield" means any former or current commercial or industrial site that is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there has been, or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant [;].

     "Buydown" means an arrangement or arrangements involving the buyer and seller in a given power purchase contract and, in some cases third parties, for consideration to be given by the buyer in order to effectuate a reduction in the pricing, or the restructuring of other terms to reduce the overall cost of the power contract, for the remaining succeeding period of the purchased power arrangement or arrangements [;].

     "Buyout" means an arrangement or arrangements involving the buyer and seller in a given power purchase contract and, in some cases third parties, for consideration to be given by the buyer in order to effectuate a termination of such power purchase contract [;].

     "Class I renewable energy" means electric energy produced from solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies, wind energy, fuel cells, geothermal technologies, wave or tidal action, small scale hydropower facilities with a capacity of three megawatts or less and put into service after the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, and methane gas from landfills or a biomass facility, provided that the biomass is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner [;].

     "Class II renewable energy" means electric energy produced at a hydropower facility with a capacity of greater than three megawatts or a resource recovery facility, provided that such facility is located where retail competition is permitted and provided further that the Commissioner of Environmental Protection has determined that such facility meets the highest environmental standards and minimizes any impacts to the environment and local communities [;].

     "Co-generation" means the sequential production of electricity and steam or other forms of useful energy used for industrial or commercial heating and cooling purposes [;].

     "Combined cycle power facility" means a generation facility that combines two or more thermodynamic cycles, by producing electric power via the combustion of fuel and then routing the resulting waste heat by-product to a conventional boiler or to a heat recovery steam generator for use by a steam turbine to produce electric power, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the generating facility [;].

     "Combined heat and power facility" or "co-generation facility" means a generation facility which produces electric energy and steam or other forms of useful energy such as heat, which are used for industrial or commercial heating or cooling purposes.  A combined heat and power facility or co-generation facility shall not be considered a public utility [;].

     "Competitive service" means any service offered by an electric public utility or a gas public utility that the board determines to be competitive pursuant to section 8 or section 10 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-56 or C.48:3-58) or that is not regulated by the board [;].

     "Commercial and industrial energy pricing class customer" or "CIEP class customer" means that group of non-residential customers with high peak demand, as determined by periodic board order, which either is eligible or which would be eligible, as determined by periodic board order, to receive funds from the Retail Margin Fund established pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) and for which basic generation service is hourly-priced [;].

     "Comprehensive resource analysis" means an analysis including, but not limited to, an assessment of existing market barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable technologies that are not or cannot be delivered to customers through a competitive marketplace [;].

     "Connected to the distribution system" means, for a solar electric power generation facility, that the facility is: (1) connected to a net metering customer's side of a meter, regardless of the voltage at which that customer connects to the electric grid [,]; (2) an on-site generation facility [,]; (3) qualified for net metering aggregation as provided pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection e. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [,]; (4) owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1) [,]; (5) directly connected to the electric grid at [69kilovolts] 69 kilovolts or less, regardless of how an electric public utility classifies that portion of its electric grid, and is designated as "connected to the distribution system" by the board pursuant to subsections q. through s. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [,]; or (6) is certified by the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, as being located on a brownfield, on an area of historic fill, or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility.  Any solar electric power generation facility, other than that of a net metering customer on the customer's side of the meter, connected above 69 kilovolts shall not be considered connected to the distribution system [;].

     "Customer" means any person that is an end user and is connected to any part of the transmission and distribution system within an electric public utility's service territory or a gas public utility's service territory within this State [;].

     "Customer account service" means metering, billing, or such other administrative activity associated with maintaining a customer account [;].

     "Delivery year" or "DY" means the 12-month period from June 1st through May 31st, numbered according to the calendar year in which it ends [;].

     "Demand side management" means the management of customer demand for energy service through the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency technologies, including, but not limited to, installed conservation, load management and energy efficiency measures on and in the residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental premises and facilities in this State [;].

     "Electric generation service" means the provision of retail electric energy and capacity which is generated off-site from the location at which the consumption of such electric energy and capacity is metered for retail billing purposes, including agreements and arrangements related thereto [;].

     "Electric power generator" means an entity that proposes to construct, own, lease or operate, or currently owns, leases or operates, an electric power production facility that will sell or does sell at least 90 percent of its output, either directly or through a marketer, to a customer or customers located at sites that are not on or contiguous to the site on which the facility will be located or is located.  The designation of an entity as an electric power generator for the purposes of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall not, in and of itself, affect the entity's status as an exempt wholesale generator under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, 15 U.S.C. s.79 et seq., or its successor [;].

     "Electric power supplier" means a person or entity that is duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to offer and to assume the contractual and legal responsibility to provide electric generation service to retail customers, and includes load serving entities, marketers and brokers that offer or provide electric generation service to retail customers. The term excludes an electric public utility that provides electric generation service only as a basic generation service pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-57) [;].

     "Electric public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that transmits and distributes electricity to end users within this State [;].

     "Electric related service" means a service that is directly related to the consumption of electricity by an end user, including, but not limited to, the installation of demand side management measures at the end user's premises, the maintenance, repair or replacement of appliances, lighting, motors or other energy-consuming devices at the end user's premises, and the provision of energy consumption measurement and billing services [;].

     "Electronic signature" means an electronic sound, symbol or process, attached to, or logically associated with, a contract or other record, and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record [;].

     "Eligible generator" means a developer of a base load or mid-merit electric power generation facility including, but not limited to, an on-site generation facility that qualifies as a capacity resource under PJM criteria and that commences construction after the effective date of P.L.2011, c.9 (C.48:3-98.2 et al.) [;].

     "Energy agent" means a person that is duly registered pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), that arranges the sale of retail electricity or electric related services or retail gas supply or gas related services between government aggregators or private aggregators and electric power suppliers or gas suppliers, but does not take title to the electric or gas sold [;].

     "Energy consumer" means a business or residential consumer of electric generation service or gas supply service located within the territorial jurisdiction of a government aggregator [;].

     "Energy efficiency portfolio standard" means a requirement to procure a specified amount of energy efficiency or demand side management resources as a means of managing and reducing energy usage and demand by customers [;].

     "Energy year" or "EY" means the 12-month period from June 1st through May 31st, numbered according to the calendar year in which it ends [;].

     "Farmland" means land actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use that is valued, assessed, and taxed pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.) [;].

     "Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" or "FERC" means the federal agency established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. s.7171 et seq. to regulate the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil [;].

     "Final remediation document" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Financing entity" means an electric public utility, a special purpose entity, or any other assignee of bondable transition property, which issues transition bonds.  Except as specifically provided in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), a financing entity which is not itself an electric public utility shall not be subject to the public utility requirements of Title 48 or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto [;].

     "Gas public utility" means a public utility, as that term is defined in R.S.48:2-13, that distributes gas to end users within this State [;].

     "Gas related service" means a service that is directly related to the consumption of gas by an end user, including, but not limited to, the installation of demand side management measures at the end user's premises, the maintenance, repair or replacement of appliances or other energy-consuming devices at the end user's premises, and the provision of energy consumption measurement and billing services [;].

     "Gas supplier" means a person that is duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to offer and assume the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to retail customers, and includes, but is not limited to, marketers and brokers.  A non-public utility affiliate of a public utility holding company may be a gas supplier, but a gas public utility or any subsidiary of a gas utility is not a gas supplier.  In the event that a gas public utility is not part of a holding company legal structure, a related competitive business segment of that gas public utility may be a gas supplier, provided that related competitive business segment is structurally separated from the gas public utility, and provided that the interactions between the gas public utility and the related competitive business segment are subject to the affiliate relations standards adopted by the board pursuant to subsection k. of section 10 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-58) [;].

     "Gas supply service" means the provision to customers of the retail commodity of gas, but does not include any regulated distribution service [;].

     "Government aggregator" means any government entity subject to the requirements of the "Local Public Contracts Law," P.L.1971, c.198 (C.40A:11-1 et seq.), the "Public School Contracts Law," N.J.S.18A:18A-1 et seq., or the "County College Contracts Law," P.L.1982, c.189 (C.18A:64A-25.1 et seq.), that enters into a written contract with a licensed electric power supplier or a licensed gas supplier for: (1) the provision of electric generation service, electric related service, gas supply service, or gas related service for its own use or the use of other government aggregators; or (2) if a municipal or county government, the provision of electric generation service or gas supply service on behalf of business or residential customers within its territorial jurisdiction [;].

     "Government energy aggregation program" means a program and procedure pursuant to which a government aggregator enters into a written contract for the provision of electric generation service or gas supply service on behalf of business or residential customers within its territorial jurisdiction [;].

     "Governmental entity" means any federal, state, municipal, local or other governmental department, commission, board, agency, court, authority or instrumentality having competent jurisdiction [;].

     "Greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard" means a requirement that addresses or limits the amount of carbon dioxide emissions indirectly resulting from the use of electricity as applied to any electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers of electricity [;].

     "Historic fill" means generally large volumes of non-indigenous material, no matter what date they were emplaced on the site, used to raise the topographic elevation of a site, which were contaminated prior to emplacement and are in no way connected with the operations at the location of emplacement and which include, but are not limited to, construction debris, dredge spoils, incinerator residue, demolition debris, fly ash, and non-hazardous solid waste.  "Historic fill" shall not include any material which is substantially chromate chemical production waste or any other chemical production waste or waste from processing of metal or mineral ores, residues, slags, or tailings [;].

     "Incremental auction" means an auction conducted by PJM, as part of PJM's reliability pricing model, prior to the start of the delivery year to secure electric capacity as necessary to satisfy the capacity requirements for that delivery year, that is not otherwise provided for in the base residual auction [;].

     "Leakage" means an increase in greenhouse gas emissions related to generation sources located outside of the State that are not subject to a state, interstate or regional greenhouse gas emissions cap or standard that applies to generation sources located within the State [;].

     "Locational deliverability area" or "LDA" means one or more of the zones within the PJM region which are used to evaluate area transmission constraints and reliability issues including electric public utility company zones, sub-zones, and combinations of zones [;].

     "Long-term capacity agreement pilot program" or "LCAPP" means a pilot program established by the board that includes participation by eligible generators, to seek offers for financially-settled standard offer capacity agreements with eligible generators pursuant to the provisions of P.L.2011, c.9 (C.48:3-98.2 et al.) [;].

     "Market transition charge" means a charge imposed pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) by an electric public utility, at a level determined by the board, on the electric public utility customers for a limited duration transition period to recover stranded costs created as a result of the introduction of electric power supply competition pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Marketer" means a duly licensed electric power supplier that takes title to electric energy and capacity, transmission and other services from electric power generators and other wholesale suppliers and then assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide electric generation service, and may include transmission and other services, to an end-use retail customer or customers, or a duly licensed gas supplier that takes title to gas and then assumes the contractual and legal obligation to provide gas supply service to an end-use customer or customers [;].

     "Mid-merit electric power generation facility" means a generation facility that operates at a capacity factor between baseload generation facilities and peaker generation facilities [;].

     "Net metering aggregation" means a procedure for calculating the combination of the annual energy usage for all facilities owned by a single customer where such customer is a State entity, school district, county, county agency, county authority, municipality, municipal agency, or municipal authority, and which are served by a solar electric power generating facility as provided pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection e. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [;].

     "Net proceeds" means proceeds less transaction and other related costs as determined by the board [;].

     "Net revenues" means revenues less related expenses, including applicable taxes, as determined by the board [;].

     "Offshore wind energy" means electric energy produced by a qualified offshore wind project [;].

     "Offshore wind renewable energy certificate" or "OREC" means a certificate, issued by the board or its designee, representing the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour of electric generation from a qualified offshore wind project [;].

     "Off-site end use thermal energy services customer" means an end use customer that purchases thermal energy services from an on-site generation facility, combined heat and power facility, or co-generation facility, and that is located on property that is separated from the property on which the on-site generation facility, combined heat and power facility, or co-generation facility is located by more than one easement, public thoroughfare, or transportation or utility-owned right-of-way [;].

     "On-site generation facility" means a generation facility, including, but not limited to, a generation facility that produces Class I or Class II renewable energy, and equipment and services appurtenant to electric sales by such facility to the end use customer located on the property or on property contiguous to the property on which the end user is located. An on-site generation facility shall not be considered a public utility. The property of the end use customer and the property on which the on-site generation facility is located shall be considered contiguous if they are geographically located next to each other, but may be otherwise separated by an easement, public thoroughfare, transportation or utility-owned right-of-way, or if the end use customer is purchasing thermal energy services produced by the on-site generation facility, for use for heating or cooling, or both, regardless of whether the customer is located on property that is separated from the property on which the on-site generation facility is located by more than one easement, public thoroughfare, or transportation or utility-owned right-of-way [;].

     "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, trust, limited liability company, governmental entity or other legal entity [;].

     "PJM Interconnection, L.L.C." or "PJM" means the privately-held, limited liability corporation that is a FERC-approved Regional Transmission Organization, or its successor, that manages the regional, high-voltage electricity grid serving all or parts of 13 states including New Jersey and the District of Columbia, operates the regional competitive wholesale electric market, manages the regional transmission planning process, and establishes systems and rules to ensure that the regional and in-State energy markets operate fairly and efficiently [;].

     "Preliminary assessment" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Private aggregator" means a non-government aggregator that is a duly-organized business or non-profit organization authorized to do business in this State that enters into a contract with a duly licensed electric power supplier for the purchase of electric energy and capacity, or with a duly licensed gas supplier for the purchase of gas supply service, on behalf of multiple end-use customers by combining the loads of those customers [;].

     "Properly closed sanitary landfill facility" means a sanitary landfill facility, or a portion of a sanitary landfill facility, for which performance is complete with respect to all activities associated with the design, installation, purchase, or construction of all measures, structures, or equipment required by the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to law, in order to prevent, minimize, or monitor pollution or health hazards resulting from a sanitary landfill facility subsequent to the termination of operations at any portion thereof, including, but not necessarily limited to, the placement of earthen or vegetative cover, and the installation of methane gas vents or monitors and leachate monitoring wells or collection systems at the site of any sanitary landfill facility [;].

     "Public utility holding company" means: (1) any company that, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, or holds with power to vote, [ten] 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of an electric public utility or a gas public utility or of a company which is a public utility holding company by virtue of this definition, unless the Securities and Exchange Commission, or its successor, by order declares such company not to be a public utility holding company under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, 15 U.S.C. s.79 et seq., or its successor; or (2) any person that the Securities and Exchange Commission, or its successor, determines, after notice and opportunity for hearing, directly or indirectly, to exercise, either alone or pursuant to an arrangement or understanding with one or more other persons, such a controlling influence over the management or policies of an electric public utility or a gas public utility or public utility holding company as to make it necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors or consumers that such person be subject to the obligations, duties, and liabilities imposed in the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 or its successor [;].

     "Qualified offshore wind project" means a wind turbine electricity generation facility in the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the electric transmission system in this State, and includes the associated transmission-related interconnection facilities and equipment, and approved by the board pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1) [;].

     "Registration program" means an administrative process developed by the board pursuant to subsection u. of section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) that requires all owners of solar electric power generation facilities connected to the distribution system that intend to generate SRECs, to file with the board documents detailing the size, location, interconnection plan, land use, and other project information as required by the board [;].

     "Regulatory asset" means an asset recorded on the books of an electric public utility or gas public utility pursuant to the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards, No. 71, entitled "Accounting for the Effects of Certain Types of Regulation," or any successor standard and as deemed recoverable by the board [;].

     "Related competitive business segment of an electric public utility or gas public utility" means any business venture of an electric public utility or gas public utility including, but not limited to, functionally separate business units, joint ventures, and partnerships, that offers to provide or provides competitive services [;].

     "Related competitive business segment of a public utility holding company" means any business venture of a public utility holding company, including, but not limited to, functionally separate business units, joint ventures, and partnerships and subsidiaries, that offers to provide or provides competitive services, but does not include any related competitive business segments of an electric public utility or gas public utility [;].

     "Reliability pricing model" or "RPM" means PJM's capacity-market model, and its successors, that secures capacity on behalf of electric load serving entities to satisfy load obligations not satisfied through the output of electric generation facilities owned by those entities, or otherwise secured by those entities through bilateral contracts [;].

     "Renewable energy certificate" or "REC" means a certificate representing the environmental benefits or attributes of one megawatt-hour of generation from a generating facility that produces Class I or Class II renewable energy, but shall not include a solar renewable energy certificate or an offshore wind renewable energy certificate [;].

     "Resource clearing price" or "RCP" means the clearing price established for the applicable locational deliverability area by the base residual auction or incremental auction, as determined by the optimization algorithm for each auction, conducted by PJM as part of PJM's reliability pricing model [;].

     "Resource recovery facility" means a solid waste facility constructed and operated for the incineration of solid waste for energy production and the recovery of metals and other materials for reuse, which the Department of Environmental Protection has determined to be in compliance with current environmental standards, including, but not limited to, all applicable requirements of the federal "Clean Air Act" (42 U.S.C. s.7401 et seq.) [;].

     "Restructuring related costs" means reasonably incurred costs directly related to the restructuring of the electric power industry, including the closure, sale, functional separation and divestiture of generation and other competitive utility assets by a public utility, or the provision of competitive services as such costs are determined by the board, and which are not stranded costs as defined in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) but may include, but not be limited to, investments in management information systems, and which shall include expenses related to employees affected by restructuring which result in efficiencies and which result in benefits to ratepayers, such as training or retraining at the level equivalent to one year's training at a vocational or technical school or county community college, the provision of severance pay of two weeks of base pay for each year of full-time employment, and a maximum of 24 months' continued health care coverage.  Except as to expenses related to employees affected by restructuring, "restructuring related costs" shall not include going forward costs [;].

     "Retail choice" means the ability of retail customers to shop for electric generation or gas supply service from electric power or gas suppliers, or opt to receive basic generation service or basic gas service, and the ability of an electric power or gas supplier to offer electric generation service or gas supply service to retail customers, consistent with the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Retail margin" means an amount, reflecting differences in prices that electric power suppliers and electric public utilities may charge in providing electric generation service and basic generation service, respectively, to retail customers, excluding residential customers, which the board may authorize to be charged to categories of basic generation service customers of electric public utilities in this State, other than residential customers, under the board's continuing regulation of basic generation service pursuant to sections 3 and 9 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-51 and 48:3-57), for the purpose of promoting a competitive retail market for the supply of electricity [;].

     "Sanitary landfill facility" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-3) [;].

     "School district" means a local or regional school district established pursuant to chapter 8 or chapter 13 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, a county special services school district established pursuant to article 8 of chapter 46 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, a county vocational school district established pursuant to article 3 of chapter 54 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, and a district under full State intervention pursuant to P.L.1987, c.399 (C.18A:7A-34 et al.) [;].

     "Shopping credit" means an amount deducted from the bill of an electric public utility customer to reflect the fact that such customer has switched to an electric power supplier and no longer takes basic generation service from the electric public utility [;].

     "Site investigation" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11b) [;].

     "Small scale hydropower facility" means a facility located within this State that is connected to the distribution system, and that meets the requirements of, and has been certified by, a nationally recognized low-impact hydropower organization that has established low-impact hydropower certification criteria applicable to: (1) river flows; (2) water quality; (3) fish passage and protection; (4) watershed protection; (5) threatened and endangered species protection; (6) cultural resource protection; (7) recreation; and (8) facilities recommended for removal [;].

     "Social program" means a program implemented with board approval to provide assistance to a group of disadvantaged customers, to provide protection to consumers, or to accomplish a particular societal goal, and includes, but is not limited to, the winter moratorium program, utility practices concerning "bad debt" customers, low income assistance, deferred payment plans, weatherization programs, and late payment and deposit policies, but does not include any demand side management program or any environmental requirements or controls [;].

     "Societal benefits charge" means a charge imposed by an electric public utility, at a level determined by the board, pursuant to, and in accordance with, section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) [;].

     "Solar alternative compliance payment" or "SACP" means a payment of a certain dollar amount per megawatt hour (MWh) which an electric power supplier or provider may submit to the board in order to comply with the solar electric generation requirements under section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) [;].

     "Solar renewable energy certificate" or "SREC" means a certificate issued by the board or its designee, representing one megawatt hour (MWh) of solar energy that is generated by a facility connected to the distribution system in this State and has value based upon, and driven by, the energy market [;].

     "Standard offer capacity agreement" or "SOCA" means a financially-settled transaction agreement, approved by board order, that provides for eligible generators to receive payments from the electric public utilities for a defined amount of electric capacity for a term to be determined by the board but not to exceed 15 years, and for such payments to be a fully non-bypassable charge, with such an order, once issued, being irrevocable [;].

     "Standard offer capacity price" or "SOCP" means the capacity price that is fixed for the term of the SOCA and which is the price to be received by eligible generators under a board-approved SOCA [;].

     "State entity" means a department, agency, or office of State government, a State university or college, or an authority created by the State [;].

     "Stranded cost" means the amount by which the net cost of an electric public utility's electric generating assets or electric power purchase commitments, as determined by the board consistent with the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), exceeds the market value of those assets or contractual commitments in a competitive supply marketplace and the costs of buydowns or buyouts of power purchase contracts [;].

     "Stranded costs recovery order" means each order issued by the board in accordance with subsection c. of section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) which sets forth the amount of stranded costs, if any, the board has determined an electric public utility is eligible to recover and collect in accordance with the standards set forth in section 13 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-61) and the recovery mechanisms therefor [;].

     "Thermal efficiency" means the useful electric energy output of a facility, plus the useful thermal energy output of the facility, expressed as a percentage of the total energy input to the facility [;].

     "Transition bond charge" means a charge, expressed as an amount per kilowatt hour, that is authorized by and imposed on electric public utility ratepayers pursuant to a bondable stranded costs rate order, as modified at any time pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) [;].

     "Transition bonds" means bonds, notes, certificates of participation or beneficial interest or other evidences of indebtedness or ownership issued pursuant to an indenture, contract or other agreement of an electric public utility or a financing entity, the proceeds of which are used, directly or indirectly, to recover, finance or refinance bondable stranded costs and which are, directly or indirectly, secured by or payable from bondable transition property.  References in P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) to principal, interest, and acquisition or redemption premium with respect to transition bonds which are issued in the form of certificates of participation or beneficial interest or other evidences of ownership shall refer to the comparable payments on such securities [;].

     "Transition period" means the period from August 1, 1999 through July 31, 2003 [;].

     "Transmission and distribution system" means, with respect to an electric public utility, any facility or equipment that is used for the transmission, distribution or delivery of electricity to the customers of the electric public utility including, but not limited to, the land, structures, meters, lines, switches and all other appurtenances thereof and thereto, owned or controlled by the electric public utility within this State [;].

     "Universal service" means any service approved by the board with the purpose of assisting low-income residential customers in obtaining or retaining electric generation or delivery service.

     “Wind energy area” or “WEA” means the area of submerged lands along the Atlantic coast designated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the United States Department of the Interior for the development of offshore wind energy.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.24, s.1)

 

     3.  Section 38 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-87) is amended to read as follows:

     38. a. The board shall require an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider to disclose on a customer's bill or on customer contracts or marketing materials, a uniform, common set of information about the environmental characteristics of the energy purchased by the customer, including, but not limited to:

     (1)   Its fuel mix, including categories for oil, gas, nuclear, coal, solar, hydroelectric, wind and biomass, or a regional average determined by the board;

     (2)   Its emissions, in pounds per megawatt hour, of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and any other pollutant that the board may determine to pose an environmental or health hazard, or an emissions default to be determined by the board; and

     (3)   Any discrete emission reduction retired pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to P.L.1995, c.188.

     b.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, after notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, interim standards to implement this disclosure requirement, including, but not limited to:

     (1)   A methodology for disclosure of emissions based on output pounds per megawatt hour;

     (2)   Benchmarks for all suppliers and basic generation service providers to use in disclosing emissions that will enable consumers to perform a meaningful comparison with a supplier's or basic generation service provider's emission levels; and

     (3)   A uniform emissions disclosure format that is graphic in nature and easily understandable by consumers.  The board shall periodically review the disclosure requirements to determine if revisions to the environmental disclosure system as implemented are necessary.

     Such standards shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the ["Administrative Procedure Act."] “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     c. (1) The board may adopt, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, after notice and opportunity for public comment, an emissions portfolio standard applicable to all electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers, upon a finding that:

     (a)   The standard is necessary as part of a plan to enable the State to meet federal Clean Air Act or State ambient air quality standards; and

     (b)   Actions at the regional or federal level cannot reasonably be expected to achieve the compliance with the federal standards.

     (2)   By July 1, 2009, the board shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard to mitigate leakage or another regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage applicable to all electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers that provide electricity to customers within the State.  The greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard or any other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage shall:

     (a)   Allow a transition period, either before or after the effective date of the regulation to mitigate leakage, for a basic generation service provider or electric power supplier to either meet the emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage, or to transfer any customer to a basic generation service provider or electric power supplier that meets the emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage.  If the transition period allowed pursuant to this subparagraph occurs after the implementation of an emissions portfolio standard or other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage, the transition period shall be no longer than three years; and

     (b)   Exempt the provision of basic generation service pursuant to a basic generation service purchase and sale agreement effective prior to the date of the regulation.

     Unless the Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee determines that a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard would unconstitutionally burden interstate commerce or would be preempted by federal law, the adoption by the board of an electric energy efficiency portfolio standard pursuant to subsection g. of this section, a gas energy efficiency portfolio standard pursuant to subsection h. of this section, or any other enhanced energy efficiency policies to mitigate leakage shall not be considered sufficient to fulfill the requirement of this subsection for the adoption of a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard or any other regulatory mechanism to mitigate leakage.

     d.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing, renewable energy portfolio standards that shall require:

     (1)   that two and one-half percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider be from Class I or Class II renewable energy sources;

     (2)   beginning on January 1, 2001, that one-half of one percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider be from Class I renewable energy sources.  The board shall increase the required percentage for Class I renewable energy sources so that by January 1, 2006, one percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider shall be from Class I renewable energy sources and shall additionally increase the required percentage for Class I renewable energy sources by one-half of one percent each year until January 1, 2012, when four percent of the kilowatt hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider shall be from Class I renewable energy sources.

     An electric power supplier or basic generation service provider may satisfy the requirements of this subsection by participating in a renewable energy trading program approved by the board in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection;

     (3)   that the board establish a multi-year schedule, applicable to each electric power supplier or basic generation service provider in this State, beginning with the one-year period commencing on June 1, 2010, and continuing for each subsequent one-year period up to and including, the one-year period commencing on June 1, 2028, that requires the following number or percentage, as the case may be, of kilowatt-hours sold in this State by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider to be from solar electric power generators connected to the distribution system in this State:

     EY 2011                 306 Gigawatthours (Gwhrs)

     EY 2012                 442 Gwhrs

     EY 2013                 596 Gwhrs

     EY 2014                 2.050%

     EY 2015                 2.450%

     EY 2016                 2.750%

     EY 2017                 3.000%

     EY 2018                 3.200%

     EY 2019                 3.290%

     EY 2020                 3.380%

     EY 2021                 3.470%

     EY 2022                 3.560%

     EY 2023                 3.650%

     EY 2024                 3.740%

     EY 2025                 3.830%

     EY 2026                 3.920%

     EY 2027                 4.010%

EY 2028 4.100%, and for every energy year thereafter, at least 4.100% per energy year to reflect an increasing number of kilowatt-hours to be purchased by suppliers or providers from solar electric power generators connected to the distribution system in this State, and to establish a framework within which, of the electricity that the generators sell in this State, suppliers and providers shall each obtain at least 3.470% in the energy year 2021 and 4.100% in the energy year 2028 from solar electric power generators connected to the distribution system in this State, provided, however, that:

     (a)   The board shall determine an appropriate period of no less than 120 days following the end of an energy year prior to which a provider or supplier must demonstrate compliance for that energy year with the annual renewable portfolio standard;

     (b)   No more than 24 months following the date of enactment of P.L.2012, c.24, the board shall complete a proceeding to investigate approaches to mitigate solar development volatility and prepare and submit, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), a report to the Legislature, detailing its findings and recommendations.  As part of the proceeding, the board shall evaluate other techniques used nationally and internationally;

     (c)   The solar renewable portfolio standards requirements in this paragraph shall exempt those existing supply contracts which are effective prior to the date of enactment of P.L.2012, c.24 from any increase beyond the number of SRECs mandated by the solar renewable portfolio standards requirements that were in effect on the date that the providers executed their existing supply contracts.  This limited exemption for providers' existing supply contracts shall not be construed to lower the Statewide solar sourcing requirements set forth in this paragraph. Such incremental requirements that would have otherwise been imposed on exempt providers shall be distributed over the providers not subject to the existing supply contract exemption until such time as existing supply contracts expire and all providers are subject to the new requirement in a manner that is competitively neutral among all providers and suppliers.  The board shall implement the provisions of this subsection in a manner so as to prevent any subsidies between suppliers and providers and to promote competition in the electricity supply industry.

     An electric power supplier or basic generation service provider may satisfy the requirements of this subsection by participating in a renewable energy trading program approved by the board in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, or compliance with the requirements of this subsection may be demonstrated to the board by suppliers or providers through the purchase of SRECs.

     The renewable energy portfolio standards adopted by the board pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     The renewable energy portfolio standards adopted by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 30 months after such filing, and shall, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act"; and

     (4)   within [180] 90 days after the date of enactment of [P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1 et al.)] P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), that the board establish an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program to require that a percentage of the kilowatt hours [sold] delivered to the customers of each electric public utility in this State [by each electric power supplier and each basic generation service provider] be from offshore wind energy in order to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation from qualified offshore wind projects.

     The percentage established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall serve as an offset to the renewable energy portfolio standard established pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection and shall reduce the corresponding Class I renewable energy requirement.

     The percentage established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall reflect the projected OREC production of each qualified offshore wind project, approved by the board pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1), for [twenty] 20 years from the commercial operation start date of the qualified offshore wind project which production projection and OREC purchase requirement, once approved by the board, shall not be subject to reduction.

     An electric [power supplier or basic generation service provider] public utility shall comply with the OREC program established pursuant to this paragraph through the purchase of offshore wind renewable energy certificates at a price and for the time period required by the board.  [In the event there are insufficient offshore wind renewable energy certificates available, the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider shall pay an offshore wind alternative compliance payment established by the board.  Any offshore wind alternative compliance payments collected shall be refunded directly to the ratepayers by the electric public utilities.] The board shall permit each electric public utility to recover 102.75 percent of the entire cost of the purchase of offshore wind renewable energy certificates, as required by this paragraph, through a non-bypassable charge imposed on all electric public utility customers.

     The rules established by the board pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed [18 months] five years, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted, or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     e.    Notwithstanding any provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the board shall initiate a proceeding and shall adopt, after notice, provision of the opportunity for comment, and public hearing:

     (1)   net metering standards for electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers.  The standards shall require electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers to offer net metering at non-discriminatory rates to industrial, large commercial, residential and small commercial customers, as those customers are classified or defined by the board, that generate electricity, on the customer's side of the meter, using a Class I renewable energy source, for the net amount of electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider over an annualized period.  Systems of any sized capacity, as measured in watts, are eligible for net metering.  If the amount of electricity generated by the customer-generator, plus any kilowatt hour credits held over from the previous billing periods, exceeds the electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider, then the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider, as the case may be, shall credit the customer-generator for the excess kilowatt hours until the end of the annualized period at which point the customer-generator will be compensated for any remaining credits or, if the customer-generator chooses, credit the customer-generator on a real-time basis, at the electric power supplier's or basic generation service provider's avoided cost of wholesale power or the PJM electric power pool's real-time locational marginal pricing rate, adjusted for losses, for the respective zone in the PJM electric power pool.  Alternatively, the customer-generator may execute a bilateral agreement with an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider for the sale and purchase of the customer-generator's excess generation. The customer-generator may be credited on a real-time basis, so long as the customer-generator follows applicable rules prescribed by the PJM electric power pool for its capacity requirements for the net amount of electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider.  The board may authorize an electric power supplier or basic generation service provider to cease offering net metering whenever the total rated generating capacity owned and operated by net metering customer-generators Statewide equals 2.5 percent of the State's peak electricity demand;

     (2)   safety and power quality interconnection standards for Class I renewable energy source systems used by a customer-generator that shall be eligible for net metering.

     Such standards or rules shall take into consideration the goals of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan, applicable industry standards, and the standards of other states and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  The board shall allow electric public utilities to recover the costs of any new net meters, upgraded net meters, system reinforcements or upgrades, and interconnection costs through either their regulated rates or from the net metering customer-generator;

     (3)   credit or other incentive rules for generators using Class I renewable energy generation systems that connect to New Jersey's electric public utilities' distribution system but who do not net meter; and

     (4)   net metering aggregation standards to require electric public utilities to provide net metering aggregation to single electric public utility customers that operate a solar electric power generation system installed at one of the customer's facilities or on property owned by the customer, provided that any such customer is a State entity, school district, county, county agency, county authority, municipality, municipal agency, or municipal authority.  The standards shall provide that, in order to qualify for net metering aggregation, the customer must operate a solar electric power generation system using a net metering billing account, which system is located on property owned by the customer, provided that: (a) the property is not land that has been actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use and that is valued, assessed, and taxed pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.) at any time within the 10-year period prior to the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, provided, however, that the municipal planning board of a municipality in which a solar electric power generation system is located may waive the requirement of this subparagraph (a), (b) the system is not an on-site generation facility, (c) all of the facilities of the single customer combined for the purpose of net metering aggregation are facilities owned or operated by the single customer and are located within its territorial jurisdiction except that all of the facilities of a State entity engaged in net metering aggregation shall be located within five miles of one another, and (d) all of those facilities are within the service territory of a single electric public utility and are all served by the same basic generation service provider or by the same electric power supplier.  The standards shall provide that in order to qualify for net metering aggregation, the customer's solar electric power generation system shall be sized so that its annual generation does not exceed the combined metered annual energy usage of the qualified customer facilities, and the qualified customer facilities shall all be in the same customer rate class under the applicable electric public utility tariff.  For the customer's facility or property on which the solar electric generation system is installed, the electricity generated from the customer's solar electric generation system shall be accounted for pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection to provide that the electricity generated in excess of the electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or the basic generation service provider, as the case may be, for the customer's facility on which the solar electric generation system is installed, over the annualized period, is credited at the electric power supplier's or the basic generation service provider's avoided cost of wholesale power or the PJM electric power pool real-time locational marginal pricing rate.  All electricity used by the customer's qualified facilities, with the exception of the facility or property on which the solar electric power generation system is installed, shall be billed at the full retail rate pursuant to the electric public utility  tariff applicable to the customer class of the customer using the electricity.  A customer may contract with a third party to operate a solar electric power generation system, for the purpose of net metering aggregation.  Any contractual relationship entered into for operation of a solar electric power generation system related to net metering aggregation shall include contractual protections that provide for adequate performance and provision for construction and operation for the term of the contract, including any appropriate bonding or escrow requirements.  Any incremental cost to an electric public utility for net metering aggregation shall be fully and timely recovered in a manner to be determined by the board.  The board shall adopt net metering aggregation standards within 270 days after the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24.

     Such rules shall require the board or its designee to issue a credit or other incentive to those generators that do not use a net meter but otherwise generate electricity derived from a Class I renewable energy source and to issue an enhanced credit or other incentive, including, but not limited to, a solar renewable energy credit, to those generators that generate electricity derived from solar technologies.

     Such standards or rules shall be effective as regulations immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and shall be effective for a period not to exceed 18 months, and may, thereafter, be amended, adopted or readopted by the board in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act."

     f.     The board may assess, by written order and after notice and opportunity for comment, a separate fee to cover the cost of implementing and overseeing an emission disclosure system or emission portfolio standard, which fee shall be assessed based on an electric power supplier's or basic generation service provider's share of the retail electricity supply market.  The board shall not impose a fee for the cost of implementing and overseeing a greenhouse gas emissions portfolio standard adopted pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of this section, the electric energy efficiency portfolio standard adopted pursuant to subsection g. of this section, or the gas energy efficiency portfolio standard adopted pursuant to subsection h. of this section.

     g.    The board may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), an electric energy efficiency portfolio standard that may require each electric public utility to implement energy efficiency measures that reduce electricity usage in the State by 2020 to a level that is 20 percent below the usage projected by the board in the absence of such a standard.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an electric public utility from meeting the requirements of this section by contracting with another entity for the performance of the requirements.

     h.    The board may adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), a gas energy efficiency portfolio standard that may require each gas public utility to implement energy efficiency measures that reduce natural gas usage for heating in the State by 2020 to a level that is 20 percent below the usage projected by the board in the absence of such a standard.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a gas public utility from meeting the requirements of this section by contracting with another entity for the performance of the requirements.

     i.     After the board establishes a schedule of solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection d. of this section, the board may initiate subsequent proceedings and adopt, after appropriate notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, increased minimum solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements, provided that the board shall not reduce previously established minimum solar kilowatt-hour sale or purchase requirements, or otherwise impose constraints that reduce the requirements by any means.

     j.     The board shall determine an appropriate level of solar alternative compliance payment, and permit each supplier or provider to submit an SACP to comply with the solar electric generation requirements of paragraph (3) of subsection d. of this section.  The value of the SACP for each Energy Year, for Energy Years 2014 through 2028 per megawatt hour from solar electric generation required pursuant to this section, shall be:

EY 2014          $339

EY 2015          $331

EY 2016          $323

EY 2017          $315

EY 2018          $308

EY 2019          $300

EY 2020          $293

EY 2021          $286

EY 2022          $279

EY 2023          $272

EY 2024          $266

EY 2025          $260

EY 2026          $253

EY 2027          $250

EY 2028          $239.

     The board may initiate subsequent proceedings and adopt, after appropriate notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, an increase in solar alternative compliance payments, provided that the board shall not reduce previously established levels of solar alternative compliance payments, nor shall the board provide relief from the obligation of payment of the SACP by the electric power suppliers or basic generation service providers in any form.  Any SACP payments collected shall be refunded directly to the ratepayers by the electric public utilities.

     k.    The board may allow electric public utilities to offer long-term contracts through a competitive process, direct electric public utility investment and other means of financing, including but not limited to loans, for the purchase of SRECs and the resale of SRECs to suppliers or providers or others, provided that after such contracts have been approved by the board, the board's approvals shall not be modified by subsequent board orders.  If the board allows the offering of contracts pursuant to this subsection, the board may establish a process, after hearing, and opportunity for public comment, to provide that a designated segment of the contracts approved pursuant to this subsection shall be contracts involving solar electric power generation facility projects with a capacity of up to 250 kilowatts.

     l.     The board shall implement its responsibilities under the provisions of this section in such a manner as to:

     (1)   place greater reliance on competitive markets, with the explicit goal of encouraging and ensuring the emergence of new entrants that can foster innovations and price competition;

     (2)   maintain adequate regulatory authority over non-competitive public utility services;

     (3)   consider alternative forms of regulation in order to address changes in the technology and structure of electric public utilities;

     (4)   promote energy efficiency and Class I renewable energy market development, taking into consideration environmental benefits and market barriers;

     (5)   make energy services more affordable for low and moderate income customers;

     (6)   attempt to transform the renewable energy market into one that can move forward without subsidies from the State or public utilities;

     (7)   achieve the goals put forth under the renewable energy portfolio standards;

     (8)   promote the lowest cost to ratepayers; and

     (9)   allow all market segments to participate.

     m.   The board shall ensure the availability of financial incentives under its jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, long-term contracts, loans, SRECs, or other financial support, to ensure market diversity, competition, and appropriate coverage across all ratepayer segments, including, but not limited to, residential, commercial, industrial, non-profit, farms, schools, and public entity customers.

     n.    For projects which are owned, or directly invested in, by a public utility pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), the board shall determine the number of SRECs with which such projects shall be credited; and in determining such number the board shall ensure that the market for SRECs does not detrimentally affect the development of non-utility solar projects and shall consider how its determination may impact the ratepayers.

     o.    The board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, electric public utilities, the Division of Rate Counsel in, but not of, the Department of the Treasury, affected members of the solar energy industry, and relevant stakeholders, shall periodically consider increasing the renewable energy portfolio standards beyond the minimum amounts set forth in subsection d. of this section, taking into account the cost impacts and public benefits of such increases including, but not limited to:

     (1)   reductions in air pollution, water pollution, land disturbance, and greenhouse gas emissions;

     (2)   reductions in peak demand for electricity and natural gas, and the overall impact on the costs to customers of electricity and natural gas;

     (3)   increases in renewable energy development, manufacturing, investment, and job creation opportunities in this State; and

     (4)   reductions in State and national dependence on the use of fossil fuels.

     p.    Class I RECs and ORECs shall be eligible for use in renewable energy portfolio standards compliance in the energy year in which they are generated, and for the following two energy years.  SRECs shall be eligible for use in renewable energy portfolio standards compliance in the energy year in which they are generated, and for the following four energy years.

     q. (1) During the energy years of 2014, 2015, and 2016, a solar electric power generation facility project that is not: (a) net metered; (b) an on-site generation facility; (c) qualified for net metering aggregation; or (d) certified as being located on a brownfield, on an area of historic fill or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility, as provided pursuant to subsection t. of this section may file an application with the board for approval of a designation pursuant to this subsection that the facility is connected to the distribution system.  An application filed pursuant to this subsection shall include a notice escrow of $40,000 per megawatt of the proposed capacity of the facility.  The board shall approve the designation if: the facility has filed a notice in writing with the board applying for designation pursuant to this subsection, together with the notice escrow; and the capacity of the facility, when added to the capacity of other facilities that have been previously approved for designation prior to the facility's filing under this subsection, does not exceed 80 megawatts in the aggregate for each year.  The capacity of any one solar electric power supply project approved pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed 10 megawatts.  No more than 90 days after its receipt of a completed application for designation pursuant to this subsection, the board shall approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the application.  The notice escrow shall be reimbursed to the facility in full upon either rejection by the board or the facility entering commercial operation, or shall be forfeited to the State if the facility is designated pursuant to this subsection but does not enter commercial operation pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.

     (2)   If the proposed solar electric power generation facility does not commence commercial operations within two years following the date of the designation by the board pursuant to this subsection, the designation of the facility shall be deemed to be null and void, and the facility shall not be considered connected to the distribution system thereafter.

     r. (1) For all proposed solar electric power generation facility projects except for those solar electric power generation facility projects approved pursuant to subsection q. of this section, and for all projects proposed in each energy year following energy year 2016, a proposed solar electric power generation facility that is neither net metered nor an on-site generation facility, may be considered "connected to the distribution system" only upon designation as such by the board, after notice to the public and opportunity for public comment or hearing.  A proposed solar power electric generation facility seeking board designation as "connected to the distribution system" shall submit an application to the board that includes for the proposed facility: the nameplate capacity; the estimated energy and number of SRECs to be produced and sold per year; the estimated annual rate impact on ratepayers; the estimated capacity of the generator as defined by PJM for sale in the PJM capacity market; the point of interconnection; the total project acreage and location; the current land use designation of the property; the type of solar technology to be used; and such other information as the board shall require.

     (2)   The board shall approve the designation of the proposed solar power electric generation facility as "connected to the distribution system" if the board determines that:

     (a)   the SRECs forecasted to be produced by the facility do not have a detrimental impact on the SREC market or on the appropriate development of solar power in the State;

     (b)   the approval of the designation of the proposed facility would not significantly impact the preservation of open space in this State;

     (c)   the impact of the designation on electric rates and economic development is beneficial; and

     (d)   there will be no impingement on the ability of an electric public utility to maintain its property and equipment in such a condition as to enable it to provide safe, adequate, and proper service to each of its customers.

     (3)   The board shall act within 90 days of its receipt of a completed application for designation of a solar power electric generation facility as "connected to the distribution system," to either approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the application.  If the proposed solar electric power generation facility does not commence commercial operations within two years following the date of the designation by the board pursuant to this subsection, the designation of the facility as "connected to the distribution system" shall be deemed to be null and void, and the facility shall thereafter be considered not "connected to the distribution system."

     s.     In addition to any other requirements of P.L.1999, c.23 or any other law, rule, regulation or order, a solar electric power generation facility that is not net metered or an on-site generation facility and which is located on land that has been actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use that is valued, assessed, and taxed pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.) at any time within the 10-year period prior to the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, shall only be considered "connected to the distribution system" if (1) the board approves the facility's designation pursuant to subsection q. of this section; or (2) (a) PJM issued a System Impact Study for the facility on or before June 30, 2011, (b) the facility files a notice with the board within 60 days of the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, indicating its intent to qualify under this subsection, and (c) the facility has been approved as "connected to the distribution system" by the board.  Nothing in this subsection shall limit the board's authority concerning the review and oversight of facilities, unless such facilities are exempt from such review as a result of having been approved pursuant to subsection q. of this section.

     t. (1) No more than 180 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2012, c.24, the board shall, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and, after notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, complete a proceeding to establish a program to provide SRECs to owners of solar electric power generation facility projects certified by the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, as being located on a brownfield, on an area of historic fill or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility, including those owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1).  Projects certified under this subsection shall be considered "connected to the distribution system", shall not require such designation by the board, and shall not be subject to board review required pursuant to subsections q. and r. of this section.  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-51) or any other law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary, for projects certified under this subsection, the board shall establish a financial incentive that is designed to supplement the SRECs generated by the facility in order to cover the additional cost of constructing and operating a solar electric power generation facility on a brownfield, on an area of historic fill or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility.  Any financial benefit realized in relation to a project owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), as a result of the provision of a financial incentive established by the board pursuant to this subsection, shall be credited to ratepayers. The issuance of SRECs for all solar electric power generation facility projects pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed "Board of Public Utilities financial assistance" as provided under section 1 of P.L.2009, c.89 (C.48:2-29.47).

     (2)   Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Spill Compensation and Control Act," P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.) or any other law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary, the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, may find that a person who operates a solar electric power generation facility project that has commenced operation on or after the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24, which project is certified by the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, as being located on a brownfield for which a final remediation document has been issued, on an area of historic fill or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility, which projects shall include, but not be limited to projects located on a brownfield for which a final remediation document has been issued, on an area of historic fill or on a properly closed sanitary landfill facility owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), or a person who owns property acquired on or after the effective date of P.L.2012, c.24 on which such a solar electric power generation facility project is constructed and operated, shall not be liable for cleanup and removal costs to the Department of Environmental Protection or to any other person for the discharge of a hazardous substance provided that:

     (a)   the person acquired or leased the real property after the discharge of that hazardous substance at the real property;

     (b)   the person did not discharge the hazardous substance, is not in any way responsible for the hazardous substance, and is not a successor to the discharger or to any person in any way responsible for the hazardous substance or to anyone liable for cleanup and removal costs pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11g);

     (c)   the person, within 30 days after acquisition of the property, gave notice of the discharge to the Department of Environmental Protection in a manner the Department of Environmental Protection prescribes;

     (d)   the person does not disrupt or change, without prior written permission from the Department of Environmental Protection, any engineering or institutional control that is part of a remedial action for the contaminated site or any landfill closure or post-closure requirement;

     (e)   the person does not exacerbate the contamination at the property;

     (f)   the person does not interfere with any necessary remediation of the property;

     (g)   the person complies with any regulations and any permit the Department of Environmental Protection issues pursuant to section 19 of P.L.2009, c.60 (C.58:10C-19) or paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 6 of P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-6);

     (h)   with respect to an area of historic fill, the person has demonstrated pursuant to a preliminary assessment and site investigation, that hazardous substances have not been discharged; and

     (i)   with respect to a properly closed sanitary landfill facility, no person who owns or controls the facility receives, has received, or will receive, with respect to such facility, any funds from any post-closure escrow account established pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1981, c.306 (C.13:1E-109) for the closure and monitoring of the facility.

     Only the person who is liable to clean up and remove the contamination pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11g) and who does not have a defense to liability pursuant to subsection d. of that section shall be liable for cleanup and removal costs.

     u.    No more than 180 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2012, c.24, the board shall complete a proceeding to establish a registration program.  The registration program shall require the owners of solar electric power generation facility projects connected to the distribution system to make periodic milestone filings with the board in a manner and at such times as determined by the board to provide full disclosure and transparency regarding the overall level of development and construction activity of those projects Statewide.

     v.    The issuance of SRECs for all solar electric power generation facility projects pursuant to this section, for projects connected to the distribution system with a capacity of one megawatt or greater, shall be deemed "Board of Public Utilities financial assistance" as provided pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2009, c.89 (C.48:2-29.47). 

     w.   No more than 270 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2012, c.24, the board shall, after notice and opportunity for public comment and public hearing, complete a proceeding to consider whether to establish a program to provide, to owners of solar electric power generation facility projects certified by the board as being three megawatts or greater in capacity and being net metered, including facilities which are owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), a financial incentive that is designed to supplement the SRECs generated by the facility to further the goal of improving the economic competitiveness of commercial and industrial customers taking power from such projects.  If the board determines to establish such a program pursuant to this subsection, the board may establish a financial incentive to provide that the board shall issue one SREC for no less than every 750 kilowatt-hours of solar energy generated by the certified projects. Any financial benefit realized in relation to a project owned or operated by an electric public utility and approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1), as a result of the provisions of a financial incentive established by the board pursuant to this subsection, shall be credited to ratepayers.

     x.    Solar electric power generation facility projects that are located on an existing or proposed commercial, retail, industrial, municipal, professional, recreational, transit, commuter, entertainment complex, multi-use, or mixed-use parking lot with a capacity to park 350 or more vehicles where the area to be utilized for the facility is paved, or an impervious surface may be owned or operated by an electric public utility and may be approved by the board pursuant to section 13 of P.L.2007, c.340 (C.48:3-98.1).

(cf: P.L.2012, c.24, s.2)

 

     4.  Section 3 of P.L.2010, c.57 (C.48:3-87.1) is amended to read as follows:

     3.  a. To effectuate the Legislature’s findings and declarations pursuant to section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for a five-year period after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the board shall solicit proposals for qualified offshore wind projects from offshore wind project developers once per year, with the first solicitation being within 180 days after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     b. The board shall select a reasonable method of soliciting qualified offshore wind project proposals from developers, which may include public solicitations, individual negotiations, or other methods.

     (1) The board’s solicitation of proposals shall state the criteria to be used by the board to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of the project, as provided for in subsection d. of this section. 

     (2) The board shall approve a proposal and the financing for one or more qualified offshore wind projects that support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation, within the WEA or in adjacent federal waters, provided that the board deems that the proposal is reasonable and demonstrates positive net economic and environmental benefits as provided for in subsection d. of this section.  The board may solicit and approve additional proposals over the five-year period for qualified offshore wind projects that demonstrate net positive economic and environmental benefits.  

     c. An entity seeking to construct an offshore wind project shall submit an application in response to the [board] board’s solicitation, pursuant to subsection a. of this section, for approval by the board as a qualified offshore wind project, which shall include, but need not be limited to, the following information:

     (1)   a detailed description of the project, including maps, surveys and other visual aides.  This description shall include, but need not be limited to:  the type, size and number of proposed turbines and foundations; the history to-date of the same type, size and manufacturer of installed turbines and foundations globally; and a detailed implementation plan that highlights key milestone activities during the permitting, financing, design, equipment solicitation, manufacturing, shipping, assembly, in-field installation, testing, equipment commissioning and service start-up;

     (2)   a completed financial analysis of the project including pro forma income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow projections for a 20-year period, including the internal rate of return, and a description and estimate of any State or federal tax benefits that may be associated with the project;

     (3)   the proposed method of financing the project, including identification of equity investors, fixed income investors, and any other sources of capital;

     (4)   documentation that the entity has applied for all eligible federal funds and programs available to offset the cost of the project or provide tax advantages;

     (5)   the projected electrical output and anticipated market prices over the anticipated life of the project, including a forecast of electricity revenues from the sale of energy derived from the project and capacity, as well as revenues anticipated by the sale of any ORECs, RECs, air emission credits or offsets, or any tradable environmental attributes created by the project;

     (6)   an operations and maintenance plan for the initial 20-year operation of the project that: details routine, intermittent and emergency protocols; identifies the primary risks to the built infrastructure and how the potential risks, including but not limited to hurricanes, lightning, fog, rogue wave occurrences, and exposed cabling, shall be mitigated; and identifies specific and concrete elements to ensure both construction and operational cost controls.  This operations and maintenance plan shall be integrated into the financial analysis of the project, and shall identify the projected plan for the subsequent 20 years, following conclusion of the initial 20-year operations, assuming any necessary federal lease agreements are maintained and renewed;

     (7)   the anticipated carbon dioxide emissions impact of the project;

     (8)   a decommissioning plan for the project including provisions for financial assurance for decommissioning as required by the applicable State and federal governmental entities;

     (9)   a list of all State and federal regulatory agency approvals, permits, or other authorizations required pursuant to State and federal law for the offshore wind project, and copies of all submitted permit applications and any issued approvals and permits for the offshore wind project;

     (10) a cost-benefit analysis for the project, using the criteria for economic and environmental benefits provided by the board in its solicitation, as provided for in subsection d. of this section, including at a minimum:

     (a)   a detailed input-output analysis of the impact of the project on income, employment , wages, indirect business taxes, and output in the State with particular emphasis on in-State manufacturing employment;

     (b)   an explanation of the location, type and salary of employment opportunities to be created by the project with job totals expressed as full-time equivalent positions assuming 1,820 hours per year;

     (c)   an analysis of the anticipated environmental benefits and environmental impacts of the project; and

     (d)   an analysis of the potential impacts on residential and industrial ratepayers of electricity rates over the life of the project that may be caused by incorporating any State subsidy into rates;

     (11) a proposed OREC pricing [method and] mechanism in which the OREC price is calculated as the difference between the qualified offshore wind project’s actual revenue and the projected electricity revenues from the sale of energy and capacity derived from the qualified offshore wind project over its entire useful life, as well as a production schedule for the board to consider;

     (12) a timeline for the permitting, licensing and construction of the proposed offshore wind project;

     (13) a plan for interconnection, including engineering specifications and costs; and

     (14) any other information deemed necessary by the board in order to conduct a thorough evaluation of the proposal.  The board may hire consultants or other experts if the board determines that obtaining such outside expertise would be beneficial to the review of the proposal.

     [b.] d. (1) In considering [an application] applications for [a] qualified offshore wind [project] projects, submitted pursuant to subsection [a.] c. of this section, the board shall first determine [that the] whether each application satisfies the following threshold conditions:

     (a)   the filing is consistent with the New Jersey energy master plan, adopted pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1977, c.146 (C.52:27F-14), in effect at the time the board is considering the application;

     (b)   the cost-benefit analysis, submitted pursuant to paragraph (10) of subsection [a.] c. of this section, using the criteria for economic and environmental benefits provided by the board in its solicitation, demonstrates positive economic and environmental net benefits to the State.  The board’s determination of economic and environmental net benefits shall be based on the net present value of the proposed project’s benefits over its entire useful life compared to the net present value of the net cost to ratepayers of the OREC revenues requested in the applicant’s proposal.  A project shall be determined to have net positive economic and environmental benefits if the net present value of the benefits over its useful life is greater than or equal to the net present value of the OREC revenues requested in the applicant’s proposal.  The board’s assessment of a project’s benefits shall include, but not be limited to, the net present value of a reasonable assessment of the following:

     (i) economic development, accounting for the direct, indirect, and induced effects of the project on the State’s economy, including but not limited to, income, employment, wages, indirect business taxes, and output;

     (ii) environmental improvements, accounting for the market value of reduced emissions caused by the project, the health benefits for residents of the State resulting from reduced emissions, the avoided cost of other environmental programs avoided as a result of the project, and other environmental benefits as may be reasonably attributed to the project;

     (iii) wholesale electric market savings, including the full value of price suppression reasonably attributable to the project over its entire useful life;

     (iv) long term price certainty, based on the value of the protection from volatile fossil-fuel prices provided by the project; and

     (v) any other benefit reasonably attributable to the project;

     (c)   the [financing] proposed pricing mechanism [is] shall be based upon the actual electrical output of the project, which fairly balances the risks and rewards of the project between ratepayers and shareholders, and ensures that any costs of non-performance, in either the construction or operational phase of the project, shall be borne by shareholders; and

     (d)   from those applications that satisfy the threshold conditions, the board shall select one or more qualified offshore wind projects based on whether the entity proposing the project demonstrates sufficient professional qualifications, financial integrity, and [sufficient] access to capital to allow for a reasonable expectation of completion of construction and successful operation of the project, and the achievement level of economic development projected by the project.

     (2)   In considering an application for a qualified offshore wind project, submitted pursuant to subsection [a.] c. of this section, the board shall also consider:

     (a)   the total [level] net present value of subsidies to be paid by ratepayers for qualified offshore wind projects over the life of the project relative to the total net present value of the project’s benefits, including, but not limited to, economic development, environmental improvement, wholesale electric market savings, and long term price certainty provided to the State by each qualified offshore wind project; and

     (b)   any other elements the board deems appropriate in conjunction with the application.

     [c.] e.         An order issued by the board to approve an application for a qualified offshore wind project pursuant to this section shall, at a minimum, include conditions to ensure the following:

     (1)   no OREC shall be paid until electricity is produced by the qualified offshore wind project;

     (2)   ORECs shall be paid on the actual electrical output of the project that is delivered into the transmission system of the State;

     (3) ratepayers and the State shall be held harmless for any cost overruns associated with the project; and

     (4) the applicant will reimburse the board and the State for all reasonable costs incurred for regulatory review of the project, including but not limited to consulting services, oversight, inspections, and audits. 

     An order issued by the board pursuant to this subsection shall specify the value of the OREC and the term of the order.

     An order issued by the board pursuant to this subsection shall not be modified by subsequent board orders, unless the modifications are jointly agreed to by the parties.

     [d.] f.         The board shall review and approve, conditionally approve, or deny an application submitted pursuant to this section within [180] 90 days after the date a complete application is submitted to the board.

(cf: P.L.2010, c.57, s.3)


     5.    (New section) Nothing in P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be construed to establish responsibility or jurisdiction to the board with respect to qualified offshore wind projects located in federal waters or over any matters within the responsibility and jurisdiction of the federal government, including the design, fabrication, installation, and decommissioning of each qualified offshore wind project.

 

     6. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill facilitates the development of qualified offshore wind energy projects. 

     The bill requires each electric public utility to purchase offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs) pursuant to the Board of Pubic Utilities’ (board) OREC program.  Under the OREC program, a percentage of the energy delivered by each electric public utility in this State is to be from energy generated by qualified offshore wind energy projects located on the State’s Atlantic coast.  An OREC is a certificate issued by the board, representing the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour of electric generation from a qualified offshore wind project.  The board is to permit each public utility to recover 102.75 percent of the cost incurred to purchase ORECs through the imposition of a new, non-bypassable charge on the customers of each electric public utility. 

     Further, the bill requires the board to solicit proposals for the development of qualified offshore wind projects which are subject to the approval of the board, provided that the proposals meet certain criteria and demonstrate positive net economic and environmental benefits.  The bill requires the board to permit ratepayer participation in the financing of approved, qualified offshore wind projects.

     Under the bill, the board is required to coordinate with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the United States Department of the Interior for leasing areas designated by the BOEM for development of offshore wind energy, and to cooperate with the BOEM and any other affected parties to facilitate the implementation of federal regulations that are necessary to effectuate the purposes of this bill.

     The bill requires the board to: designate each qualified offshore wind project approved by the board as a preferred developer of offshore wind energy for the State; object in any appropriate State or federal forum to any other project or any electric power transmission facility that would interfere with a qualified offshore wind project; support the preferred developer of offshore wind in obtaining necessary federal, State, and local government permits and approvals; and advocate on behalf of the  preferred developer of offshore wind energy with federal and State agencies.