On November 16, 2021, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced a redesigned Community Energy Plan Grant Program, which significantly simplifies the application process and places a greater emphasis on equity and environmental justice. The Community Energy Plan Grant Program assists communities to develop community energy plans. These plans help communities rapidly and effectively lower their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce their energy use, and increase clean energy production.
The grants provide support to municipalities to develop climate action plans at the local level based on the municipality’s assessment of which of a broad range of strategies are most applicable in the specific community, such as reducing energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector; increasing renewable energy generation; maximizing energy efficiency; and/or promoting green construction methods. These local efforts play a large part in helping New Jersey achieve its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% below 2006 levels by the year 2030, as recently established by Executive Order 274.
The redesigned grant program creates two types of grant awards. Overburdened municipalities are eligible to receive grants of up to $25,000. Additionally, overburdened municipalities are also able to receive further support to develop and file their grant applications as well as post-award technical assistance. The BPU has identified 48 municipalities which qualify as overburdened municipalities by virtue of having over 50% of its population living in an overburdened census block pursuant to the Environmental Justice Law, N.J.S.A. 13:1D-157 et seq. and having at least 35% of the population under 200% of the federal poverty level or the municipality is categorized as “distressed” by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
For all other municipalities, grants are available up to $10,000. Municipalities are not eligible for this grant program if they have previously been awarded a Community Energy Plan Grant.
BPU is accepting applications for Community Energy Plan Grants from now until March 18, 2022. The application can be found here.
Parker McCay has a wealth of experience helping municipalities navigate grant applications and post-award compliance. To discuss the Community Energy Plan Grant Program, contact Parker McCay’s municipal law department.
The content of this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer concerning your specific situation and any specific legal question you may have.