Bill Text: NJ S302 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes Clean Energy Technology Center and Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for purposes of creating clean energy-related employment opportunities; allocates revenues from societal benefits charge to support its activities.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-01-14 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee [S302 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S302-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 302

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  RONALD L. RICE

District 28 (Essex)

Senator  NIA H. GILL

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Cunningham and Turner

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes Clean Energy Technology Center and Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for purposes of creating clean energy-related employment opportunities; allocates revenues from societal benefits charge to support its activities.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

 


An Act establishing a Clean Energy Technology Center in the Board of Public Utilities, supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.1999, c.23.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section) As used in P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "Board" means the board of directors of the Clean Energy Technology Center.

     "Center" means the Clean Energy Technology Center established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     "Clean energy" means any advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy from non-renewable sources, including, but not limited to: energy efficiency; demand response; energy conservation and those technologies powered in whole or in part by the sun, wind, water, biomass, alcohol, wood, fuel cells, and any renewable, non-depletable, or recyclable fuel.

     "Clean energy research" means advanced and applied research in new clean energy technologies including: solar photovoltaic; solar thermal; wind power; geothermal; wave and tidal energy; advanced hydropower; energy storage for automotive applications; energy storage for electric power grid applications; biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels; renewable, biodegradable chemicals; advanced thermal-to-energy conversion; hydrogen; carbon capture and sequestration; energy monitoring; green building materials; energy-efficient lighting; gasification and conversion to liquid fuels; industrial energy efficiency; demand-side management; fuel cells; and other technologies that the board considers to qualify under the definitions herein; provided, however, that "clean energy research" shall not include coal, oil, or natural gas except when used in fuel cells, or nuclear power.

     "Contribution agreement" means an agreement authorized pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in which a private entity or public entity other than the State agrees to provide to the center contributions for the purpose of promoting clean energy research.

     "Federal agency" means an office, agency, division, department, board, or commission of the United States government.

     "Fund" means the "Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund" established pursuant to section 7 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     "Institution of higher education" means: Rutgers, The State University; a State college or university established pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; Rowan University; a county college; any other public university or college now or hereafter established or authorized by State law; or any college or university incorporated and located in New Jersey, which by virtue of law or character or license is a nonprofit educational institution authorized to grant academic degrees and which provides a level of education which is equivalent to the education provided by the State's public institutions of higher education, as attested by the receipt of and continuation of regional accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and which is eligible to receive State aid, but does not include any educational institution dedicated primarily to the education or training of ministers, priests, rabbis, or other professional persons in the field of religion.

     "Person" means a natural or corporate person, including bodies politic and corporate, State departments, offices, agencies, authorities and political subdivisions of the State, corporations, trusts, societies, associations and partnerships, and subordinate instrumentalities of any one or more political subdivisions of the State.

     "Public agency" means the State and any body politic and corporate of the State, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof, which is empowered to issue bonds secured by a pledge of revenues or other special funds or assets for which the issuance of debt is governed or limited pursuant to State law.

     "Revenues" means any receipts, fees, rentals, or other payments or income received or to be received on account of obligations to the center including, without limitation: equity ownership in public or private companies; income on account of the leasing, mortgaging, sale, or other disposition of a project or proceeds of a loan made by the center in connection with any project; and amounts in reserves or held in other funds or accounts established in connection with the issuance of bonds and the proceeds of any investments thereof; proceeds of foreclosure; and any other fees, charges or other income received or receivable by the center.

 

     2.    (New section)    a.   There is hereby established a body politic and corporate to be known as the Clean Energy Technology Center.  The center is hereby constituted as a public instrumentality and the exercise by the center of the powers conferred by P.L.   , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be considered to be the performance of an essential governmental function.  The center is hereby placed in the Board of Public Utilities and shall be subject to the supervision and control of the Board of Public Utilities, except as specifically provided for in P.L.   , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     The center shall promote and advance the State's public interests by: (1) acting as the State's lead agency, in collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in the promotion and development of jobs in the clean energy sector; (2) promoting research and workforce training in clean energy technology at the State's public institutions of higher education, and vocational-technical schools, or any vocational-technical school that meets the programmatic requirements established by the Department of Education; (3) stimulating the creation and development of new clean energy ventures that will form the foundation of a strong clean energy industry sector or cluster in the State; (4) providing support to existing clean energy companies to expand their operations within the State; (5) attracting new capital and research facilities from institutions outside the State; (6) fostering collaboration between industry, State government, research universities, and the financial sector to advance clean energy technology commercialization and venture development; (7) conducting market research to identify barriers to creating and expanding a clean energy technology industry, including job training needs; (8) supporting demonstration projects that are evaluated by independent, third-party peer research institutions; (9) serving as the clearinghouse for information related to the clean energy industry in the State; (10) promoting programs and investments that lead to pathways towards economic self-sufficiency for low and moderate-income individuals and communities in the clean energy industry; and (11) performing any other actions necessary to effectuate the purposes of P.L.    ,                c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     b.    The center shall be governed and its corporate powers exercised by a board of directors consisting of 10 members: one shall be the President of the Board of Public Utilities or the president's designee; one shall be the executive director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority or the executive director's designee; one shall be the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development or the commissioner's designee, and all three shall serve ex officio; and seven public members who shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Of the public members , two shall be presidents of institutions of higher education in this State or their designees, one shall be the president of a county community college in this State or the president's designee, one shall be an engineer or scientist with expertise in clean energy technology, one shall be a venture capitalist with expertise in clean energy technologies in the State, one shall be a resident of the State who represents the interests of electric public utility customers with respect to rates and charges, and one shall be a chief executive officer of a New Jersey-based clean energy corporation.  Each of the seven public members appointed by the Governor shall serve for a term of five years, except that in making the initial appointments, the Governor shall appoint one member to serve for a term of one year, one member to serve for a term of two years, one member for a term of three years, two members for a term of four years and two members for a term of five years.  The President of the Board of Public Utilities or the president's designee shall serve as chairperson of the board of directors.  A public member shall be eligible for reappointment.  A public member may be removed from the member's appointment by the Governor for cause.  A person appointed to fill a vacancy in the board held by a public member shall be appointed in a like manner and shall serve for only the unexpired term of that public member.

     c.     Six directors shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of a majority of directors present at a duly-called meeting where a quorum is present shall be necessary for any action to be taken by the board.  Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the directors may be taken without a meeting if all of the directors consent in writing to that action and written consents are filed with the records of the minutes of the next meeting of the board. The consents shall be treated for all purposes as a vote at a meeting.  The directors of the board shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the board for its purposes.

     d.    The board may appoint and employ an executive director, and fix the executive director's compensation and conditions of employment.  The executive director shall have a full range of previous experience in the clean energy industry, including previous executive experience within the clean energy industry.  The executive director shall be the chief executive, administrative, and operational officer of the center and shall direct and supervise the administrative affairs and the general management of the center.  The executive director may, subject to the general supervision of the board, employ other employees, consultants, agents, including legal counsel and advisors, and shall attend meetings of the board.

     e.     The board shall elect from its membership a secretary and a treasurer.  The secretary shall keep a record of the minutes and other proceedings of the board and shall be the custodian of all books, documents, and papers filed by the board.  The secretary shall cause copies to be made of all minutes and other records and documents of the center and shall certify that the copies are true copies, and all persons dealing with the center may rely upon that certification. The treasurer shall be the chief financial and accounting officer of the center and shall be in charge of its funds, books of account, and accounting records.  The books and records of the center shall be subject to an annual audit to be made and filed with the Governor, and for that purpose the center shall employ a certified public accountant licensed in the State of New Jersey.

     f.     All officers and employees of the center having access to its cash or negotiable securities shall give a bond to the center, at its expense, in such amounts and with such surety as the board may prescribe.

     g.    The center shall continue until its existence is terminated by law.  Upon termination of the existence of the center, all rights, title, and interest in and to its assets, and its obligations, duties, covenants, and agreements, shall vest in and be possessed, performed, and assumed by the Board of Public Utilities.

     h.    Meetings of the board shall be subject to the "Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act," P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.).  Except as provided in subsection i. of this section, records pertaining to the administration of the center shall be subject to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.).

     i.     Information required to be compiled by the center shall be deemed to be government records subject to the requirements of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.).

 

     3.    (New section) The Clean Energy Technology Center shall have all powers necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate its purposes pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), including, the power to:

     a.     Adopt and amend by-laws, regulations, and procedures for the governance of its affairs and the conduct of its business;

     b.    Establish standards requiring that any loan, loan guarantee, or other appropriation of funds pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) be subject to an intellectual property agreement between the center and the recipient; provided, however, that the intellectual property agreement shall balance the opportunity for the State to benefit from the patents, royalties, and equity ownership in public and private companies and licenses against the need to ensure that essential clean energy research shall not be unreasonably hindered by the intellectual property agreement; and provided further, that all revenues or financial interests of any kind received by the center as a result of the intellectual property agreement shall be placed, in its entirety, in the fund;

     c.     Adopt an official seal;

     d.    Maintain offices within the State as it may determine and to conduct meetings of the center in accordance with the by-laws of the center;

     e.     Sue and be sued, to prosecute and defend actions relating to its properties and affairs, and to be liable in tort in the same manner as a private person; provided, however, that the center shall not become a debtor under chapter 7 or 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code;

     f.     Appoint officers and employees and to engage consultants, agents, and advisors;

     g.    Enter into contracts and agreements and execute all documents necessary or convenient thereto for accomplishing the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); provided, however, that the contracts and agreements may include, without limiting the foregoing, construction agreements, purchase or acquisition agreements, loan or lease agreements, partnership agreements including limited partnership agreements, joint ventures, participation agreements, service agreements with clean energy entities, environmental, educational, or other financial institutions or intermediaries and agreements with one or more persons for the servicing of loans made by the center, including the receipt by such servicer of payments made by a user under a financing contract or agreement, and provided further, that any such payments shall constitute trust funds to be held and applied solely as provided in such agreement for the servicing of loans, shall constitute pledged funds of the center, and shall be entitled to the same protection when received by a person for the servicing of loans, without the need for filing and recording of the servicing agreement, except in the records of the center, as is afforded to funds received by an issuer and pledged to a trustee;

     h.    Acquire real and personal property, or any interest in real or personal property, by gift, purchase, transfer, foreclosure, lease, or otherwise, including rights or easements; to hold, sell, assign, lease, encumber, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property, or any interest therein, or mortgage any interest owned by the center or under the center's control, custody, or in the center's possession; to release or relinquish any right, title, claim, lien, interest, easement, or demand however acquired, including any equity or right of redemption in property foreclosed by the center; to take assignments of leases and rentals, proceed with foreclosure actions or take any other actions necessary or incidental to the performance of the center's corporate purposes;

     i.     Invest funds held in reserves or sinking funds, or the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund, or funds not required for immediate disbursement, in those investments as may be provided in a financing document relating to the use of the funds, or, if not so provided, as the board may determine;

     j.     Review and recommend changes in laws, rules, programs, and policies of the State and its agencies and subdivisions to further the enhancement of clean energy financing, infrastructure, siting, manufacturing, and development within the State;

     k.    Appear on its own behalf before boards, commissions, departments, or other agencies of municipal, county, State, or federal government;

     l.     Obtain insurance;

     m.   Apply for and accept grants, loans, advances, and contributions from any source of money, property, labor, or other things of value, to be held, used, and applied for the center's corporate purposes; provided, however, that the center shall not accept funding from any source, including any federal agency, if the receipt of that funding would limit the center's ability to promote its public purposes; and provided further, that all funds shall be placed, in their entirety, in the fund;

     n.    Enter into agreements, including any contribution agreements, with public and private entities that deal primarily with clean energy technologies, in order to distribute and provide leveraging of monies or services for the purposes of furthering research and development, aiding in the promotion of environmental protection, creating jobs in clean energy and promoting overall economic growth by fostering collaboration and investments in clean energy in the State;

     o.    Provide and pay for advisory services and technical assistance as may be necessary or desired to carry out the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     p.    Establish and collect fees and charges, in addition to any societal benefits charge revenues allocated to the center pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), as the center, without further appropriation, shall determine to be reasonable, and to receive and apply revenues from fees and charges to the purposes of the center or allotment by the State; provided, however, that all revenues collected shall be placed, in their entirety, in the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund;

     q.    Make or guarantee loans (1) to any person for the acquisition, construction, alteration, or any combination thereof, or other financing of a clean energy project including, but not limited to, loans to lending institutions under terms and conditions requiring the proceeds of the loans to be used by the lending institutions for the making of loans to persons for qualified clean energy projects and (2) for the purposes described pursuant to sections 8, 9, and 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     r.     Disburse, appropriate, loan, or allocate funds for the purposes of investing in clean energy as directed pursuant to P.L.   ,  c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     s.     Provide assistance to local entities and authorities, public bodies and private corporations for the purposes of maximizing opportunities for expanding clean energy technologies, attracting new clean energy entities and advanced technology investments, fostering new innovative research, and creating new manufacturing and development initiatives in the State;

     t.     Prepare, publish, and distribute as the center may determine, studies, reports, bulletins, and other material as the center deems appropriate;

     u.    Employ accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, planners, real estate experts, and other consultants as may be necessary in its judgment to carry out the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) and to fix their compensation;

     v.    Take any actions necessary or convenient to the exercise of any power or the discharge of any duty provided pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     w.   Enter into agreements or other transactions with any person, including without limitation any public agency or other governmental instrumentality or agency, in connection with its powers and duties pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     x.    Make qualified investments to ensure the success of clean energy industry clusters; and

     y.    Institute and administer the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for the purposes of making appropriations, allocations, or loans to leverage development and investments in clean energy research, workforce training, and job creation; provided, however, that the center shall implement an application process for these purposes.

 

     4.    (New section)    a.      The exercise of the powers granted pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the State and for the improvement of their health and living conditions.  The operation of the Clean Energy Technology Center shall constitute the performance of essential governmental functions and the center shall not be required to pay any taxes or assessments.

     b.    All real and tangible personal property of the center shall be deemed to be public property used for essential public and governmental purposes and shall be exempt from taxation and special assessments.

 

     5.    (New section) Based on recommendations included in the clean energy study conducted pursuant to subsection c. of section 10 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Clean Energy Technology Center shall, within 100 days of the study's completion, develop a Statewide plan for the installation and operation of renewable energy generating facilities on real property owned by the State.  Any renewable energy generating facility sited on State property shall be made available for State and local workforce development and training initiatives.

 

     6.    (New section) The Clean Energy Technology Center shall annually submit, on or before March 1, a report to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature, setting forth, relative to the center's operations, receipts and expenditures during its fiscal year and its assets and liabilities during the fiscal year.

 

     7.    (New section)    a.      There is hereby established and placed within the Clean Energy Technology Center a special nonlapsing fund to be known as the "Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund," to be held by the center separate and apart from its other funds, to finance the activities of the center.  The fund shall be credited with societal benefits charge revenues received from electric and gas public utilities, pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), for deposit in the fund as pursuant to subsection j. of this section.  The fund may be credited with any appropriations, proceeds, or other monies authorized by the Legislature and specifically designated to be credited thereto, additional funds as are subject to the direction and control of the center, any investment funds, federal grants or loans, royalties, equity ownership in public or private companies, or private investment capital which may properly be applied in furtherance of the objectives of the fund, any proceeds from the sale of qualified investments secured or held by the fund, any fees and charges imposed relative to the making of qualified investments, as the investments shall be defined by the center, secured or held by the fund, and any other monies which may be available to the center for the purposes of the fund from any other source or sources.  Any revenues, deposits, receipts, or funds received through the receipt of royalties, dividends, equity ownership in public or private companies, or the sale of equity instruments, inclusive, shall be deposited in the fund and shall be available expressly to the center without further appropriation.

     b.    The center shall, in consultation with the advisory committee established in subsection g. of this section and the State Treasurer, invest and reinvest the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund and the income thereof only as follows: (1) in the making of qualified investments approved by the board, pursuant to rules approved by the board; (2) in defraying the ordinary and necessary expenses of administration and operation associated with the center; provided, however, that administrative and operational expenses shall not exceed 15 percent of the total assets of the fund in any one fiscal year; (3) in the investment of any funds not required for immediate disbursement in the purchase of securities as may be lawful investments for fiduciaries in the State; (4) for the payment of binding obligations associated with qualified investments which are secured by the fund as the obligations become payable; and (5) for the payment of principal and interest on qualified investments secured by the fund or the payment of any redemption premium required to be paid when the qualified investments are redeemed prior to maturity.

     c.     The Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund shall be held and applied by the center, subject to the approval of the board, and in consultation with advisory committee established in subsection g. of this section to make qualified investments designed to advance the following public purposes in the State to: (1) stimulate increased financing for the expansion of state-of-the-art clean energy research and development facilities by leveraging private financing and providing financing related thereto including, without limitation, financing for the construction or expansion of those facilities; (2) provide loans and loan guarantees to State institutions of higher education to develop a curriculum relative to clean energy and clean energy technology; (3) make targeted investments in clean energy research and to promote manufacturing activities for new or existing advanced clean energy technologies; (4) make loans or loan guarantees to institutions of higher education, public instrumentalities, companies, and other entities to induce the federal government, industry, and other grant-funding sources to provide grant funding for the expansion of research and development in clean energy; (5) provide bridge financing to institutions of higher education, public instrumentalities, companies, and other entities in anticipation of the receipt of grants of the type described in paragraph (4) of this subsection, awarded or to be awarded by the federal government, industry, or other sources; (6) promote programs and investments that lead to pathways towards economic self-sufficiency for low and moderate-income communities in the clean energy industry; provided, however, that these programs shall prioritize investments that serve individuals in families with incomes that do not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level, as determined by the United States Census Bureau, that shall include but not be limited to, the income needs of families, family size, the number and ages of children in the family, and geographical considerations; and (7) make any other expenditure provided by this section.

     d.    The center shall not make a qualified investment under paragraph (1) of subsection c. of this section unless: (1) the qualified investment has been approved by a majority vote of the board; and (2) the center finds that, to the extent possible, the qualified investment is such that a defined benefit to the economy of the State may reasonably be expected from the qualified investment; provided, however, that in evaluating a request or application for funding, the center shall consider whether: (a) the project fulfills the public purposes of the center; (b) the project has significant potential to expand clean energy related employment in the State; (c) the project has the potential to enhance technological advancements in clean energy; (d) the project has the potential to result in the development of advancements in environmental protection and reduce the cost of energy; (e) the project has the potential to leverage additional funding or to attract additional energy resources to the State; (f) the project has the potential to stimulate clean energy manufacturing in the State; (g) the project includes a plan to facilitate collaboration with State and local workforce development programs; or (h) the program leads to pathways towards economic self-sufficiency for low and moderate-income communities in the clean energy industry as established pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection c. of this section.

     e.     The center shall not make a qualified investment under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section unless the qualified investment is in conformity with the rules adopted by the center and approved by the board.  The rules shall set the terms and conditions for investments which constitute qualified investments, which may include, without limitation, loans, guarantees, loan insurance or reinsurance, equity investments, equity ownership in public or private companies, or other financing or credit enhancing devices, as made by the center directly or on its own behalf or in conjunction with other public instrumentalities, private institutions, or the federal government.

     f.     The rules established pursuant to subsection e. of this section shall also set forth the terms, procedures, standards, and conditions which the center shall employ to identify qualified applications, process applications, make investment determinations, safeguard the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund, advance the objective of increasing employment opportunities in the State, oversee the progress of qualified investments, and secure the participation of other public instrumentalities, private institutions, or the federal government in those qualified investments; provided, however, that the rules shall provide for negotiated intellectual property agreements between the center and each recipient of a qualified investment which shall include the terms and conditions by which the fund's support thereof may be reduced or withdrawn; and provided further, that all revenues or financial interests of any kind received by the center as a result of the intellectual property agreements shall be placed, in their entirety, in the fund.

     g.    There shall be an advisory committee to be appointed by the Governor consisting of 15 individuals with an interest in and knowledge of matters related to the general purpose and activities of the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund and with expertise and experience in at least one of the following areas: clean energy technology research, clean energy technology development, clean energy investing, management of clean energy companies, making or advancing clean energy policy, clean energy curriculum development, or workforce training in the field of clean energy or energy efficiency.  The board shall consult with the advisory committee in matters related to the fund and in the implementation of this section.

     h.    Qualified investment transactions undertaken by the center pursuant to this section shall not constitute a debt or pledge of the faith and credit of the State, the center, or any political subdivision of the State and shall be payable solely from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund.

     i.     All available moneys in the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund that are unexpended at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund and shall be available for expenditure in the subsequent fiscal year.

     j.     The Board of Public Utilities shall annually transfer from societal benefits charge revenues received from electric and gas public utilities, pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60), for deposit in the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund established pursuant to this section, an amount determined by the board as necessary to meet the financial obligations of the fund and the purposes of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The board may allocate up to 15 percent of the amount to defray the ordinary and necessary expenses of administration and operation associated with the center.

     k.    The center shall annually submit on or before June 1 a report to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature, setting forth, relative to the fund's operations, receipts and expenditures during its fiscal year and its assets and liabilities during the fiscal year.

 

     8.    (New section) There is hereby established and placed within the Clean Energy Technology Center a program to be known as the "Clean Energy Loan Program."  Under the program, the center, in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, may provide loans or loan guarantees, to clean energy researchers, companies, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and institutions based on criteria developed by the center.  The center shall establish public-private partnerships with State-based investors, entrepreneurs, and institutions that are involved in the clean energy industry for the purposes of facilitating matching grants for recipients of funding from the center.

 

     9.    (New section) There is hereby established and placed within the Clean Energy Technology Center an initiative to be known as the "Green Jobs Initiative."  Under the initiative, the center, in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, may provide loans or loan guarantees to public institutions of higher education and county vocational-technical schools, to facilitate workforce development efforts and train and retain students in clean energy industries.  The initiatives may include loans or loan guarantees to public institutions of higher education and county vocational-technical schools for the development of small-scale renewable energy generating sources, including, but not limited to: photovoltaic installations; wind energy; ocean thermal, wave, or tidal energy; fuel cells; landfill gas; natural flowing water and hydroelectric; low-emission advanced biomass power conversion technologies using biomass fuels such as wood, agricultural, or food wastes; biogas, biodiesel, or organic refuse-derived fuel; and geothermal energy.  The center shall assist public institutions of higher education and the county vocational-technical schools in developing a curriculum for clean energy and energy efficiency, and shall assist students seeking employment in the clean energy sector.

 

     10.  (New section)    a.   The Clean Energy Technology Center, in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, may allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for a loan program to be administered by the center.  The program may provide loans or loan guarantees to clean energy companies, institutions, or nonprofit organizations.

     b.    The center, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, may allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for a workforce development loan program to be administered by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.  The workforce development loan program may provide loans or loan guarantees to the State's institutions of higher education, county vocational-technical schools, or community-based organizations that have existing workforce development programs in clean energy industry skills or the capacity to create these programs.

     c.     The center shall allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund to commission a study, conducted pursuant to section 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to investigate the clean energy sector in the State.  The study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of: (1) the future workforce needs of the State's clean energy sector; (2) the current growth rate of the clean energy sector, including the number of in-State jobs and businesses; (3) the current levels of private investment in the clean energy sector; (4) real property owned by the State available and suited for the installation and operation of renewable energy generating facilities; (5) energy efficiency opportunities on real property owned by the State; and (6) the future funding requirements of the center.  A copy of the study shall be submitted no later than one year after the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature.

     d.    The center, in consultation with the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund for an initiative to be known as the "Pathways Out of Poverty Initiative."  The initiative shall be administered by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.  Under the initiative, the commissioner may provide loans or loan guarantees to clean energy companies, community-based nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or labor organizations to enable these entities to carry out training programs associated with the clean energy industry that lead to economic self-sufficiency.  The center shall give funding priority to entities that serve individuals in families with incomes that shall not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level, as determined by the United States Census Bureau, that shall include but not be limited to, the income needs of families, family size, the number and ages of children in the family, and geographical considerations.  The loans and loan guarantees shall be awarded so as to ensure geographic diversity within the State.

     e.     The center, in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, may allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund to research, establish, and fund, if the center so chooses, a Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Institute, to serve as a joint venture among institutions of higher education in the State providing a focal point for research, education, and commercialization activities in the hydrogen fuel cell sector; provided, however, that the institute's responsibilities may include, but not be limited to: (1) working with the public and private institutions of higher education in the State to coordinate and strengthen hydrogen and fuel cell research activities in the State; (2) strengthening collaborative research and development between institutions of higher education and businesses located within the State; (3) addressing critical technological barriers facing the hydrogen and fuel cell businesses; (4) strengthening existing educational programs and introducing new curriculum in institutions of higher education in the State to produce graduates who are conversant in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; and (5) promoting partnerships between institutions of higher education in the State and businesses to jointly demonstrate hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and attract greater amounts of federal funding to the State.

     f.     The center, in consultation with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, may allocate monies from the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund to establish, if the center so chooses, a program to be known as the "Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program," which may provide loans or loan guarantees to entrepreneurs from business sectors other than clean energy sectors to enroll in programs to foster knowledge and expertise of clean energy technology; provided, however, that the clean energy technology programs shall be based upon intensive technology, market, and policy curriculum and that the center shall establish public-private partnerships and enter into contribution agreements with State-based businesses and venture capitalists to support programs designed to mentor and train entrepreneurs from other business sectors in the areas of clean energy technology and development to increase investment in the State's clean energy sector.

 

     11.  Section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  a.     Simultaneously with the starting date for the implementation of retail choice as determined by the board pursuant to subsection a. of section 5 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-53), the board shall permit each electric public utility and gas public utility to recover some or all of the following costs through a societal benefits charge that shall be collected as a non-bypassable charge imposed on all electric public utility customers and gas public utility customers, as appropriate:

     (1)   The costs for the social programs for which rate recovery was approved by the board prior to April 30, 1997.  For the purpose of establishing initial unbundled rates pursuant to section 4 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-52), the societal benefits charge shall be set to recover the same level of social program costs as is being collected in the bundled rates of the electric public utility on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  The board may subsequently order, pursuant to its rules and regulations, an increase or decrease in the societal benefits charge to reflect changes in the costs to the utility of administering existing social programs.  Nothing in [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) shall be construed to abolish or change any social program required by statute or board order or rule or regulation to be provided by an electric public utility.  Any such social program shall continue to be provided by the electric public utility until otherwise provided by law, unless the board determines that it is no longer appropriate for the electric public utility to provide the program, or the board chooses to modify the program;

     (2)   Nuclear plant decommissioning costs;

     (3)   The costs of demand side management programs that were approved by the board pursuant to its demand side management regulations prior to April 30, 1997.  For the purpose of establishing initial unbundled rates pursuant to section 4 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-52), the societal benefits charge shall be set to recover the same level of demand side management program costs as is being collected in the bundled rates of the electric public utility on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.).  Within four months of the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), and every four years thereafter, the board shall initiate a proceeding and cause to be undertaken a comprehensive resource analysis of energy programs, and within eight months of initiating such proceeding and after notice, provision of the opportunity for public comment, and public hearing, the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall determine the appropriate level of funding for energy efficiency and Class I renewable energy programs that provide environmental benefits above and beyond those provided by standard offer or similar programs in effect as of the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.); provided that the funding for [such] demand side management programs be no less than [50%] 50 percent of the total Statewide amount being collected in [public] electric and gas public utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.) for an initial period of four years from the issuance of the first comprehensive resource analysis following the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), and provided that [25%] 25 percent of this amount shall be used to provide funding for Class I renewable energy projects in the State.  In each of the following fifth through eighth years, the Statewide funding for [such] demand side management programs shall be no less than 50 percent of the total Statewide amount being collected in [public] electric and gas public utility rates for demand side management programs on the effective date of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-49 et al.), except that as additional funds are made available as a result of the expiration of past standard offer or similar commitments, the minimum amount of funding for [such] demand side management programs shall increase by an additional amount equal to 50 percent of the additional funds made available, until the minimum amount of funding dedicated to [such] demand side management programs reaches $140,000,000 total.  After the eighth year, the board shall make a determination as to the appropriate level of funding for these programs.  [Such] The demand side management programs shall include a program to provide financial incentives for the installation of Class I renewable energy projects in the State, and the board, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall determine the level and total amount of [such] the incentives as well as the renewable technologies eligible for [such] the incentives which shall include, at a minimum, photovoltaic, wind, and fuel cells.  The board shall simultaneously determine, as a result of the comprehensive resource analysis, the programs to be funded by the societal benefits charge, the level of cost recovery and performance incentives for old and new programs and whether the recovery of demand side management programs' costs currently approved by the board may be reduced or extended over a longer period of time.  The board shall make these determinations taking into consideration existing market barriers and environmental benefits, with the objective of transforming markets, capturing lost opportunities, making energy services more affordable for low income customers and eliminating subsidies for programs that can be delivered in the marketplace without electric public utility and gas public utility customer funding;

     (4)   Manufactured gas plant remediation costs, which shall be determined initially in a manner consistent with mechanisms in the remediation adjustment clauses for the electric public utility and gas public utility adopted by the board; [and]

     (5)   The cost, of consumer education, as determined by the board, which shall be in an amount that, together with the consumer education surcharge imposed on electric power supplier license fees pursuant to subsection h. of section 29 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-78) and the consumer education surcharge imposed on gas supplier license fees pursuant to subsection g. of section 30 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-79), shall be sufficient to fund the consumer education program established pursuant to section 36 of [this act] P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-85); and

     (6)   100 percent of the costs of the operation of the Clean Energy Technology Center and the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund, established pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The board may order, pursuant to its rules and regulations, an increase or decrease in the societal benefits charge to reflect the inclusion of funding for the Clean Energy Technology Center and the Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund.

     b.    There is established in the [Board of Public Utilities] board a nonlapsing fund to be known as the "Universal Service Fund."  The board shall determine: the level of funding and the appropriate administration of the fund; the purposes and programs to be funded with monies from the fund; which social programs shall be provided by an electric public utility as part of the provision of its regulated services which provide a public benefit; whether the funds appropriated to fund the "Lifeline Credit Program" established pursuant to P.L.1979, c.197 (C.48:2-29.15 et seq.), the "Tenants' Lifeline Assistance Program" established pursuant to P.L.1981, c.210 [(C.48:2-29.31 et seq.)] (C.48:2-29.30 et seq.), the funds received pursuant to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. s.8621 et seq., and funds collected by electric and [natural] gas public utilities, as authorized by the board, to offset uncollectible [electricity] electric and [natural] gas public utility bills should be deposited in the fund; and whether new charges should be imposed to fund new or  expanded social programs.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.23, s.12)

 

     12.  This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill creates a Clean Energy Technology Center (center) within the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to administer an Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund (trust fund).  Under the bill, the center is authorized to use trust fund financing to finance clean energy technology research and provide loans and loan guarantees to companies, institutions of higher education, and nonprofits to encourage the creation of clean energy technology ventures and the training of workers to perform associated "green jobs."

     The bill specifically authorizes the center to provide loans and loan guarantees from the trust fund to:  (1) stimulate increased financing for the expansion of clean energy research and development facilities by leveraging private financing and providing related financing, including financing for construction and expansion; (2) provide financing to State institutions of higher education to develop a curriculum relative to clean energy and clean energy technology; (3) make targeted investments in clean energy research and promote manufacturing activities for new and existing advanced clean energy technologies; (4) make financing available to institutions of higher education, businesses, and other institutions to encourage the federal government, industry, and other entities to provide funding; (5) provide bridge financing in anticipation of such awards; and (6) fund programs and investments that promote economic self-sufficiency for low and moderate income communities in the clean energy industry.

     Financing by the center from the trust fund is to be governed by rules to be approved by the board of directors of the center established under the bill.  The bill provides that the 10-member board is to include representatives of government, educational institutions, and private industry, including an engineer or scientist, a chief executive officer of a New Jersey-based clean energy corporation, a representative of electric public utility ratepayers, and a venture capitalist with expertise in clean energy technologies.

     The bill also authorizes a study of the clean energy sector, to examine the sector's future workforce needs and its growth rate and levels of private investment, real property owned by the State available and suitable for the installation and operation of renewable energy facilities, energy efficiency opportunities on real property owned by the State, and the future funding requirements of the center.

     The trust fund created by the bill would be financed with revenues received from the societal benefits charge established pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1999, c.23 (C.48:3-60) (i.e., the "Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act") and is intended to stimulate the growth of the State's clean energy economy.  The bill would authorize the center to use revenues to finance:  (1) if the center so chooses, a "Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Institute," to serve as a joint venture among institutions of higher education in the State and to provide a focal point for research, education, and commercialization activities in the hydrogen fuel cell sector; (2) if the center so chooses, an "Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program," which would provide loans or loan guarantees to entrepreneurs from business sectors other than clean energy sectors to enroll in programs to foster knowledge and expertise of clean energy technology; (3) a loan program for clean energy companies, institutions, or nonprofit organizations; (4) a workforce development program to provide loans and loan guarantees to institutions of higher education, vocational-technical schools, or community-based organizations with existing or potential workforce development programs in clean energy; and (5) a "Pathways Out of Poverty Initiative" to provide loans and loan guarantees to clean energy companies, community-based nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or labor organizations for training programs that lead to economic self-sufficiency.

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