NEWARK NJ--Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) announced that it is selling off its fossil fuel fleet. The announcement acknowledged that “an exit from the fossil generation business would accelerate PSEG’s transition to a primarily regulated and contracted business, with a zero-carbon generation platform.”
“It is a big deal that PSEG is selling off their fossil fuel business after 117 years. This is a major shift in how New Jersey’s largest utility will be doing business in the future. PSEG is saying that betting on fossil fuels is a bet against the future. They are looking to become a full-service utility and focusing on areas with a guaranteed rate of return. By moving away from fossil fuels, they will be focusing on their Energy Strong program, electric vehicle infrastructure, rebuilding the grid, building microgrids, energy efficiency, AMI, battery storage, and more. They are also looking at partnering with Ørsted on their offshore wind farm. We think that this is a win for clean and renewable energy,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is a paradigm shift for New Jersey. Our largest utility is divesting itself of fossil fuels because they believe that they aren’t a good investment compared to investing in clean and renewable energy.”
Last year, the BPU awarded Ørsted a solicitation for 1,100 MW of offshore wind. Ørsted has obtained Capacity Interconnection Rights (CIRs) at B.L. England Generating System in Beesley’s Point in addition to Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. PSEG is currently expected to make a decision regarding the opportunity to invest in Ørsted’s Ocean Wind project.
“By selling off their fossil fuel business, PSEG is proving how much more valuable renewable and clean energy sources are. This is like when the cable companies started branching out into the internet, telephones, even home alarms. They are already in business with Ørsted to move forward with a 1,100 MW wind farm off our coast, and probably more. Offshore wind will move us forward when it comes to clean energy and green jobs. It is the most reliable and cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse and move forward on renewable energy,” said Tittel. “Separating their fossil fuel business from other generation means that they won’t control as much of the NJ energy generation. Given problems with PJM and MOPR, they are positioning themselves in a new power market.”
PSEG will be keeping their existing nuclear fleet. They maintain that the fleet is necessary for New Jersey to meet its “long-term carbon reduction goals.” PSEG has already received billions of dollars in nuclear subsidies from the NJ Board of Public Utilities. Last year, they were awarded one of the biggest subsidies in state history for their nuclear plants, costing NJ ratepayers $300 million a year.
“By shifting away from fossil fuels, PSEG is going all in on their nuclear power plants. They believe that they will make more money than fossil fuels, which may mean that nuclear subsidies aren’t necessary. This is important because we will never be able to diversify our energy portfolio if we have to subsidize nuclear energy forever. We have given PSEG billions already that they’ve used to kill billions of fish a year,” said Tittel.
PSE&G’s $3.5 billion Clean Energy Future filing is designed to help NJ achieve the goals of the 2018 Clean Energy Act by expanding customer access to energy efficiency programs, electric vehicle infrastructure, and expanding energy storage.
“PSEG is betting on the future and against the past by getting rid of their fossil fuel fleet. If PSEG is shifting away from fossil fuels, New Jersey should too. Governor Murphy needs to act more aggressively against fossil fuels. He needs to put a moratorium in place on fossil fuel power plants and infrastructure, including the state’s own dirty power plant in the Meadowlands. He then needs to move us quickly to get to 100% renewable energy by 2035 and zero carbon by 2050. New Jersey needs to be expanding our solar program and being more aggressive with offshore wind solicitations. If PSEG can divest from fossil fuels, then NJ should be able to divest the pension fund as well,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is a major change in New Jersey’s utilities and how they do business. This could have major impacts on our future and moving forward with energy efficiency, renewable energy, electrifying transportation, and energy storage.”