South Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority Project Receives Preliminary Approval for Energy Resilience Bank Funding
TRENTON (August 9, 2016) – Continuing its commitment to help keep critical infrastructures operational during natural disasters, the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today awarded preliminary approval for funding under the Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) of a new combined heat and power (CHP) system at the South Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority (SMRSA).
Created by the Christie Administration in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the ERB is the first public infrastructure bank in the nation to focus on energy resilience. Administered by the EDA, the ERB is utilizing $200 million from New Jersey’s second Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation to support the development of distributed energy resources (DER) at critical facilities throughout the state that will enable them to remain operational during future outages.
The intent of the ERB is to finance the installation or upgrading of commercially available and cost effective resilient energy technologies at critical facilities, with a focus on effective DER technologies, including CHP and fuel cells, which are designed to start up and function in “island” mode, disconnected and isolated from the grid during a power outage or other event. As an added benefit, these technologies typically provide cleaner and more efficient power than more traditional forms of electricity generation.
The SMRSA provides wastewater treatment and disposal for its eight member communities (Belmar, Brielle, Lake Como, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Spring Lakes Heights, and portions of Wall Township). The facility currently treats an average of six million gallons of wastewater each day and has the capacity to handle up to nine million gallons per day.
“SMRSA has been deeply impacted by nearly every major New Jersey coastal storm, from Superstorm Sandy to subsequent winter storms,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen said. “Action taken by the EDA Board is the first step toward ensuring the facility can function independently and provide the community with service and benefits during future storms, natural disasters and other emergency situations.”
During Superstorm Sandy, SMRSA sustained extensive system-wide impacts throughout its facilities and suffered millions of dollars in damage. Its wastewater treatment plant endured wind damage and was without commercial power for approximately 14 days during the storm.
ERB applicants must be eligible entities and must demonstrate that they were either directly or indirectly impacted by Superstorm Sandy or directly impacted by another qualifying disaster. Priority, as established through the ERB scoring system, is placed on projects which serve low and moderate income communities. Financing options available through the ERB consist of grants and loans to address unmet funding needs.
Consistent with ERB and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) CDBG-DR program requirements, SMRSA will add a new CHP system to its wastewater treatment facility in Wall. SMRSA plans to install a new 270-kilowatt CHP combustion engine, retrofit the two existing 140-kilowatt engines with dual fuel capacity for enhanced operational flexibility, and provide the miscellaneous electrical components necessary to black start and operate as an island.
Today’s Board action will allow the project to advance to the next phase of the ERB program review. As authorized, $2.46 million of ERB funds will be reserved for the project, approximately $1.36 million as a grant and $1.1 million as a low-interest loan.
Based on today’s action, the SMRSA project will now proceed to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) environmental review process. This authorization to proceed allows SMRSA to make the necessary financial commitments to finalize engineering and design of the project, with the understanding that any material changes to the project’s scope or budget will be brought back to the Board for reconsideration.
The ERB Financing Program Guide and application can be found at http://www.NJERB.com, or by calling (866) 534-7789, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. ERB funding is available for water and wastewater treatment plants and for hospitals and their related healthcare facilities that meet ERB program eligibility requirements. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed and brought for Board action on a first-received, first-ready basis. ERB intake applications may be submitted up until September 30, 2016.
EDA Board meetings are typically held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at 36 West State Street in Trenton. The Board meeting schedule, as well as Board agendas and minutes, are available at www.njeda.com. All Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.