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New Jersey passes zero emissions certificate legislation

Staff Writer |
New Jersey legislators passed bills establishing a zero emissions certificate (ZEC) programme.

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It will recognise and compensate eligible nuclear power plants for their zero-carbon attributes and contribution to fuel diversity.

The New Jersey Senate passed bill S2313 by 28 votes to 9, with the Assembly passing its version of the bill, A3724, by 60 votes to 10.

The bill directs the state's Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to issue the certificates, which represent the fuel diversity, air quality, and environmental attributes of one megawatt-hour of electricity generated by an eligible nuclear power plant which has been selected by the BPU to participate in the ZEC programme.

To be eligible, a plant must, amongst other things, be licensed to operate until 2030 or later.

Four nuclear reactors - the single-unit Hope Creek and twin-unit Salem plants the single-unit Oyster Creek - together generate 38.5% of the New Jersey's electricity.

Exelon's Oyster Creek, which is already scheduled to close this October following changes to state water use rules that would have required the construction of new cooling towers at the plant, will not be eligible for the ZEC programme.

The programme will be funded by a tariff of $0.004 per kilowatt-hour imposed on retail distribution customers, with administrative costs to be covered, in part or in whole by application fees.

According to estimates from the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services (OLS), the tariff is likely to generate a revenue of up to $301 million. The Salem and Hope Creek plants would receive about $253 million in revenue from ZEC sales to electric public utilities, the OLS estimates.

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