69KV connections bill cleared by Energy committee

TRENTON – a bill that would allow solar facilities that are directly connected to the electric grid at 69 kilovolts or less to be eligible for solar renewable energy certificates cleared committee today.

According to Atlantic City Electric, existing regulations require all solar projects to be connected to the 12 kilovolt system, which is “oversatured.’’

As a result, additional solar development is blocked, said Susan Coan of Atlantic City Energy.

However, Dennis Wilson of Midatlantic Solar Energy was opposed, arguing it will squeeze out the smaller projects and cost jobs. In addition, he said the SREC system is an inappropriate structure for these systems.

There was confusion about whether the bill omits Board of Public Utilities review.

Wilson and the Division of Rate Counsel opposed provisions that they understood would not provide for Board of Public Utilities review.

N.J. Sierra Club head Jeff Tittel also said there is confusion, that although they do support the original bill because it will help the smaller systems, especially with the elimination of rebates, they too are concerned about this possible lack of oversight.

Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Smith said such BPU review is not  there now, and since the sponsor was not at the hearing, suggestions can be passed along to possibly further change the bill.

S2942, sponsored by Sen. Donald Norcross, cleared 3-0 with both Republican Sens. Jennifer Beck and Kip Bateman abstaining for the moment.