PSEG, New Jersey’s largest utility, has boosted its investment up to $17 billion through 2025 to modernize its transmission, electric and gas distribution and clean energy infrastructure, the company said Sept. 27. The Investment includes added spending on energy storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicle infrastructure, methane reduction and electrification of the state’s transportation infrastructure, Ralph Izzo, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said during an investor conference.
The plan will focus on last-mile electric system modernization through an investment proposal called the Infrastructure Advancement Program that is expected to be filed with New Jersey regulators in the coming months, he said.
PSEG in August said it would reach 100% clean energy by 2030 with plans to align its program with the state’s aggressive decarbonization targets.
“PSEG is ahead of other utilities in the country with its carbon profile and it is well positioned for Capex growth to help the state meet its clean energy goals,” Paul Patterson, an analyst with Glenrock Associates told ENR. Besides storm hardening, energy efficiency and renewables it is well positioned to compete for the onshore grid interconnection for offshore wind projects getting underway, he said.
Izzo also expressed support at an industry event on Sept. 22 for the Clean Electricity Performance Program contained in the $3.5 trillion Democratic congressional reconcilatiion proposal. Ir would require utilities to boost their share of clean energy by 4% annually or face financial penalties, but also wouid offer tax credits and other incentives.
The program is a battleground issue in the bill, among others, with Republicans and moderate Democrats, particularly in fossil fuel states, in opposition. "CEPP is a punitive regime that would require utilities to buy or generate a set additional amount of renewable energy, year on year," said a Sept. 16 Wall Street Journal opinion by Kimberley Strassel. "Companies that hit the mark get federal payments; companies that don’t face steep fines. Natural gas doesn’t count." She says it would force some utilities into a "federal quota program."
PSEG reached an agreement in August to sell 6,750-MW of fossil fuel generating plants located in New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Connecticut to ArcLight Capital Partners LLC for approximately $1.92 billion, a deal set to close later this year or in the first quarter of 2022.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its natural gas business, PSEG set a goal to reduce methane emissions 22% by 2023 and 60% by 2030. It is two years into a four-year, $1.9 billion plan to replace 875 miles of natural gas pipes.
Its Capex plans include spending $175 million to $225 million to improve last-mile reliability of the grid, about $300 million to modernize substations.and $75 to $100 million in investments in solar energy connection upgrades and transportation sector improvements, the company said.
Plans call for spending up to $150 million on 2,000 new electric vehicle charging stations and up to $150 million modernizing gas metering stations.