SJI announces clean energy and sustainability plan

Image: SJI

SJI announces a comprehensive clean energy plan, including a timeline to achieve carbon-neutral operations, as part of a commitment to sustainability.

In 2020, SJI formed a Clean Energy and Sustainability team with the ambitious goal of achieving operational carbon neutrality by the year 2040. Through a new series of sustainability initiatives, SJI plans to reach that goal by eliminating its own carbon footprint and significantly reducing its 700,000+ utility customers’ fossil fuel consumption.

SJI has set forth benchmarks to achieve a 70% carbon reduction of operational emissions and consumption by the year 2030 and 100% reduction by 2040. Moving forward, SJI is committing at least 25% of annual capital expenditures on sustainability projects.

Under this plan, capital expenditures will include the installation of solar panels on SJI facilities, the replacement of aging transmission pipes to reduce “fugitive” emissions, upgrading leak detection technologies and completing the conversion of service vehicles to low carbon-density fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG). 

In addition, SJI is committing to a series of investments aimed at reducing fossil fuel consumption by its more than 700,000 natural gas utility customers at South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas. These investments include: significantly expanding energy efficiency programs, providing consumers new tools to reduce energy consumption, and investing in several clean and renewable energy technologies such as renewable natural gas (RNG), green hydrogen and high-efficiency fuel cells.

“As an experienced energy leader, SJI has a vital role to play in the clean energy future of our state, region, and country. We are excited by the impact our modern infrastructure will have in helping New Jersey and the region decarbonize. And, we are committed to investing in new technologies that will safely, reliably and affordably deliver low carbon energy to the more than 700,000 families and businesses that we serve across our State,”

Mike Renna, CEO and president, SJI.

In recent months, SJI took the following actions as part of the company’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Plan:

  • Formed Catamaran Renewables, a joint renewable energy investment venture with Captona, and acquired 7.5 Megawatts in high-efficiency fuel cell systems, with additional projects in development.
  • Invested $39.8 million to acquire a minority interest in REV LNG, LLC, a national leader in producing renewable natural gas. Secured rights to produce RNG.
  • Entered a partnership with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind to create a green hydrogen pilot program in conjunction with their bid for a wind farm off the coast of southern New Jersey.
  • Secured approval by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to expand energy efficiency programs for South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas customers by $216 million. Fully subscribed, the programs could collectively save customers approximately $329 million and prevent the release of more than 950,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
  • South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas launched Conserve, an online tool to help residential and commercial customers consume less energy.
  • Installed solar panels on SJI facilities

“The best way for our customers to reduce their carbon footprints is to consume less. At our utilities, we are more than doubling our energy efficiency programs and launching Conserve, our online tool to help customers save energy. We’re empowering customers to help the environment as well as save money,”

Dave Robbins, President of SJI Utilities.

To date, SJI utilities have invested more than $133 million in energy efficiency programs, including rebates on high-efficiency heating equipment, weatherization for low-to-moderate-income households and home energy assessments. The new $216 million expansion of those programs will begin in July 2021.

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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