Monday, March 19, 2018

Mapping NJ's energy infrastructure of the future

Fundamental changes to ways electricity and gas will be delivered are in the offing, according to experts


Steve Corneli, principal, Strategies for Clean Energy Innovation

Tom Johnson reports for NJ Spotlight:

With the state pursuing more aggressive clean-energy policies, the energy sector will undergo a major transformation that will require fundamental changes in how and when electricity and gas are delivered.

At least that seemed to be the consensus of experts during a NJ Spotlight roundtable event Friday that focused on modernizing the state’s energy infrastructure, an issue fraught with challenges and not insignificant costs.

It also comes at a time of rapid technological changes and the need to upgrade an aging power grid to cope with integrating cleaner, but intermittent, energy sources into the mix, while facing pressure to make the entire system more resilient, the panelists agreed.

Former Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a keynote speaker whose city is now developing a microgrid to deal with future storms after being battered by Hurricane Sandy, stressed the importance of energy resiliency.

“We need to persuade the public that this is an investment that needs to be made,’’ Zimmer said. “Energy resiliency investments will save us in the long run.’’

Her community is one 13 New Jersey municipalities now assessing microgrids, a way of enhancing resiliency and reliability by relying on distributed energy resources, a localized way of providing power.

“We are looking at tremendous changes happening — really a transformation of the industry over the next five, 10, and 15 years,’’ said David Daly, president and chief operating officer for Public Service Electric & Gas, the state’s largest utility.

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