Singleton: Bill would make ‘green’ improvements more affordable

TRENTON – A Burlington County lawmaker wants to “go green” and create some green at the same time.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, (D-7), Mount Laurel, introduced a bill this week that seeks to make environmentally-sound improvements affordable, particularly for those who traditionally have been unable to afford them.

In the process, under A4533, the economy would ideally receive a boost through jobs growth and lower utility bills.

Singleton, a rising star in Democratic Party circles, has strong labor backing as a veteran of the carpenters, and he sees in his southern New Jersey district a need for affordable “green’’ alternatives.

The bill would authorize the state’s Economic Development Authority to oversee a $200 million bond program to provide low-cost financing for clean-energy projects.

There would be a fee imposed on such property owners to pay back the loan.

According to Singleton, he believes this approach will help homeowners clear the hurdle of up-front costs that serve often as an insurmountable barrier to clean-energy infrastructure.

“We think we’ve fashioned it in such a way that it will not be onerous,” said Singleton, who intends to reach out to Sen. Bob Smith, chair of the Senate Environment Committee, to see if they can get a companion bill under way.

In addition to making it more affordable for underserved markets to “go green,’’ with solar panels or energy-efficient heating systems, for instance, the bill could help further energy diversity, Singleton said.

“It will also support the effort to meet the renewable portfolio standards and energy efficiency requirements in New Jersey’s evolving energy market.”

Alternative energy has been a contentious issue in the Christie administration.  Democrats and environmentalists to this day oppose the decision to pull New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The slow development of wind energy projects offshore has been just the latest example environmentalists point to of a state that is lagging the field.

Singleton believes in his approach and that to do nothing only puts New Jersey farther behind.

“Initially the bill would set up this loan program and it would be capitalized by EDA doing $200 million in revenue bonds to establish an administrative loan program, and they would set up guidelines on the payback structure,” he said.

Singleton: Bill would make ‘green’ improvements more affordable