EDA OKs $55M shift to help combined heat/power efforts

TRENTON – The state Economic Development Authority on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding amendment with the Board of Public Utilities that would transfer $55 million from the Clean Energy Program to the Large Scale Combined Heat and Power Fuel Cell program, which will launch in the spring.  

The companies that participate in the fuel cell program would also be eligible to receive financial assistance through the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund.

In addition, the EDA approved changes to the Edison Innovation Green Growth Fund, which provides loans to clean technology companies. The changes include providing a fixed 2 percent interest rate on the loans, instead of the 2 to 10 percent range that previously existed. The maximum loan amount has also been increased from $1 million to $2 million per company.

The agreement with BPU states that EDA will receive a one–time payment of $550,000 in connection with the program.

In addition to those items, the EDA approved a three-year, $450,000 agreement with TechLaunch LLC, which will provide capital to a dozen promising start-ups working on technology projects. The start-ups will work with Tech Launch to pitch and polish their products through a mentoring program that TechLaunch LLC will hold at various universities, with the first one being Montclair State University.

The EDA’s investment will be coupled with private investments in the second and third year, according to the agreement.

Caren Franzini, head of the EDA, said the model is a successful one that has been used in other states such as California, and in cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

She said a program like this could help discover the “next Steve Jobs.”

EDA OKs $55M shift to help combined heat/power efforts