Environmental activists introduced a brand new report Thursday that they are saying a hybrid renewable power microgrid might assist with NJ Transit’s energy wants throughout an surprising loss, versus a fossil-fuel-burning energy plant in Kearny that the company is at the moment weighing.
At a rally protesting the plant earlier than Monday’s NJ Transit board assembly, Iveth Mosquera advised how she left Newark to maneuver to Kearny after her youngsters have been born with bronchial asthma and he or she feared for his or her well being. from native air pollution.
“My youngsters have been born on the road, and so they suffered from bronchial asthma, debilitating bronchial asthma, debilitating allergic reactions all their lives, and I am virtually 100% positive that it has one thing to do with the air pollution of the Ironbound,” he advised 20 or activists gathering in entrance of NJ Transit headquarters. “Then we moved to Kearny pondering it was a bit higher. Properly, Kearny was in all probability as soiled as Newark.”
The report advocates a “no-regrets” resolution that will generate 97 megawatts of electrical energy utilizing photo voltaic panels, 76 megawatts of four-hour battery storage, and 32 megawatts from a backup gasoline turbine. It might generate $16 million extra in income over time for the company than a fossil gas plant by promoting energy to Amtrak, the report stated.
The 14-page research was commissioned by EmpowerNJ, a coalition of environmental organizations, and Clear Vitality Group, a nationwide nonprofit.
Microgrid attributable to harm from Superstorm Sandy
The thought to construct a microgrid for NJ Transit happened after Superstorm Sandy knocked out energy throughout the state in 2012. NJ Transit was awarded a $409 million federal grant, which can cowl many of the estimated $577 million to construct a gas-fired , 140-megawatt energy plant in Kearny on 48 acres alongside the Hackensack River.
The unique proposal was made to enhance electrical energy reliability for the company’s rail community, which averages 16 energy outages per 12 months.
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The activist opposition throughout the years of the venture
Activists have flooded NJ Transit board conferences for years to inform the board to finish the venture or discover a cleaner various to keep away from the plant’s estimated 383,000 to 571,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. electrical energy per 12 months.
In 2020, NJ Transit introduced it was getting into right into a $3 million stipend program to encourage bidders to design a proposal that will be 100% powered by renewables by 2050, however didn’t restrict gasoline use. within the close to time period.
The report unveiled Monday was written by Joe Goodenbery, Eliasid Animas and Joe Walderman of the Berkeley, California-based agency Strategen Consulting.
Challenges of the hybrid mannequin
There are a number of challenges to the hybrid mannequin proposed by Strategen, together with that the design, as outlined within the report, just isn’t able to producing 140 megawatts of energy, which is one in all NJ Transit’s necessities within the request for contractors to submit design bids. the venture.
It additionally requires 300 to 350 hectares of land for photo voltaic panels. The hybrid mannequin is “cheaper than the proposed (mixed cycle) energy plant,” the report stated, however it didn’t element up-front capital value estimates or account for acquisition prices. on land to host photo voltaic panels.
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The report says NJ Transit owns not less than 500 acres that would maintain photo voltaic panels and has greater than 1,200 acres close by that may be used.
Matt Smith, New Jersey state director for the nonprofit group Meals & Water Watch, stated he hopes the report encourages NJ Transit to revise its request for bid proposals.
His concern is that the company’s request for bids as at the moment worded seeks designs for an influence plant that can use fossil fuels within the fast time period, however transfer to inexperienced gas know-how, comparable to hydrogen or ethanol, or use an idea often called carbon seize, which he says is “utterly unproven and never cost-effective.”
Board members expressed reservations concerning the renewable know-how
NJ Transit board members, together with Bob Gordon, who has additionally served on the state Board of Public Utilities since 2018, have expressed reservations up to now about whether or not the know-how exists to generate 140 megawatts of energy utilizing solely renewable power sources.
By means of comparability, an analogous controversy occurred in Ventura County, California, in recent times when the group refused one other fossil-fuel-burning energy plant to return on-line, forcing native authorities to think about a renewable power various. In 2021, a 100-megawatt battery storage system goes reside in Oxnard utilizing Tesla megapack battery know-how to retailer power and energy hundreds of houses in that group for 4 hours a day you’re outage.
NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett stated he has not but obtained the report, however hopes that by extending the RFP’s stipend money and time, the company will obtain sturdy proposals that embody renewable power. . He stated that two finalists needs to be chosen subsequent month and an award shall be introduced subsequent 12 months.