Jersey City officials are planning to sink $21 million towards running the entire city on green energy over the course of the next 20 years.
Under the plan, known as the Energy Savings Improvement Program, the city would create its own 1.23-megawatt solar panel array to power many of its publicly run operations. The solar panels were installed at the public works facilities last year as part of the city’s electrification of its garbage truck fleet.
The plan is being voted on at a March 24 city council meeting, and it would be done in partnership with European energy company Schneider Electric.
City officials contend the move would make the city entirely self-reliant in the event of power outages and emergencies. That, in addition to plans to electrify the city’s garbage trucks, will enable the city to completely cut out its greenhouse gas emissions.
“This microgrid and the entire ESIP program will serve as a national resiliency model saving us millions of dollars and significantly reducing our carbon footprint, while improving air quality and the overall health and quality of life for our residents,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said in a March 24 statement.
Fulop cited the recent Texas energy crisis in February, in which the state experienced devastating power losses because its grid was not winterized, nor was it able to depend on electricity from neighboring states.
Gov. Phil Murphy and other administration officials have touted a so-called “green energy” economy as a means to fuel the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 recession. And, the Murphy administration contends, it has a social justice component: trying to make up for generations of pollution and environmental contamination which have affected many of the states poorest cities.
A separate measure calls for a $500,000 contract with PSE&G, in which the utility giant will install several energy-saving upgrades at dozens of city-owned facilities.
Those include water conservation, new lighting and roofing, solar panels, roofing replacement, improved insulation, battery storage upgrades, and combining power and heating systems.