Rule change means boost for NJ’s green-power plans
For the past few years, New Jersey officials feared that policies set by the operator of the nation’s largest power grid and a federal agency would undermine the state’s clean-energy goals and boost costs to utility customers.
Those concerns appear to have been wiped away, at least temporarily, by an obscure federal agency.
In a notice issued Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed controversial new rules by PJM Interconnection to become effective immediately. The decision marked a significant reversal of a prior rule two years earlier from PJM, which oversees the region’s electrical grid. New Jersey and other states bitterly opposed that earlier rule.
Energy sector in transition
The dispute reflects the deep divisions in the energy sector as many states, including New Jersey, along with clean-energy advocates, seek to move from the fossil fuels contributing to climate change to carbon-free sources producing electricity such as solar energy and offshore wind.
The notice by FERC illustrates those ruptures. It came after its four sitting commissioners “divided two against two on the lawfulness of the change,’’ FERC said in its notice. The Biden administration nominated a fifth commissioner earlier this month, but he has yet to be confirmed.
In New Jersey, the initial proposal from PJM triggered the state Board of Public Utilities to look into whether the state should exit the regional power grid, and later to contest the rule in a federal appeals court.
“This is all good news for New Jersey,’’ said BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso in an interview with NJ Spotlight News….