A bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) to extend the deadline for the completion of commercial solar electric power generating facilities was approved unanimously by the entire General Assembly on Thursday ( June 16 ) and will move on to a vote in state Senate.
The legislation (A4089) extends the completion deadline for solar electric power generation facilities when the delay is due to a “tolling event.” For New Jersey, a tolling event includes inaction by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM).
PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states including New Jersey. The grid operator approves new power plant interconnections and has a backlog of about 1,200 projects – most of them solar, according an April report in Inside Climate News. https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/science/environment/2022/04/30/solar-projects-put-pause-largest-us-power-grid-operator/9587074002.
“I am extremely pleased that the legislators of both parties recognized the need for an extension when projects are delayed through no fault of the contractors or those who are investing to bringing solar power to the regional electric grid,” said Barranco, a member of the IBEW, who has who has managed the construction of power plants in the region.
Barranco said he was confident that the state Senate would approve the same legislation knowing of the desire to bring more green energy to the grid, and supporting the good paying jobs of skilled tradesmen working on the power plants.
The deadline extension, said Barranco, is part of the reality of dealing with energy production.
“The process of creating solar generating plants and getting them on the grid is a lot more complicated than many politicians, activists and government regulators think it is,” said Barranco.
According to the legislation, a construction company (or project sponsor) seeking a government extension would be required to provide documentation to the state Board of Public Utilities describing the tolling event. The BPU would have 45 days to issue an unconditional order approving an extension of the project deadline.
The project sponsor would have an obligation to apprise the BPU quarterly on the nature of the tolling event and its anticipated duration.
Upon conclusion of a tolling event the project sponsor would be required to complete the facility within a prescribed period of time.