FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2009

 

 

Union County Freeholders Advance Renewable Energy Program
School Boards, Municipal Governments will be asked to participate throughout Union County

 

ELIZABETH - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is moving forward with an innovative Countywide Renewable Energy Program that will be implemented by the Union County Improvement Authority.

“This program has the potential to put Union County on the cutting edge of regional implementation of renewable-energy technologies to benefit the environment, local governments and the taxpayers,” said Freeholder Chairman Al Mirabella.

The Freeholder Board has asked the Improvement Authority to proceed with the Program and recently adopted two ordinances which allow for every Union County Municipality, School Board and divisions of County government to benefit from the installation of solar energy equipment on their facilities without incurring any costs.  This infusion of renewable energy will reduce the cost of power presently being used at each location while at the same time providing local governments with budgetary certainty for at least a portion of the energy costs.

The goal of the program is to reduce energy costs for the County, participating local governmental entities including municipalities and Boards of Education; and meet the goal of the State’s Energy Master Plan, which sets a 30 percent goal for renewable energy sources by 2020.

The Improvement Authority will initially work with private contractors to produce solar panel installations, and has set a long-term goal of also installing wind turbines, hyrdo-electric, bio diesel, geothermal and bio-mass facilities.

Under the terms, a private entity that is selected through a competitive bid process would acquire, construct, install, operate and maintain the solar panels and related equipment on the roofs of  Municipal, County and Board of Education facilities. The company would sell any energy produced back to the governing entity at a cheaper cost than available through the local utility for a term of 15 years. Debt service on the bonds is also paid back through the private entity.

“Participating municipalities will enjoy a reduction in energy costs while at the same time helping the environment for future generations,” said Union County Improvement Authority Executive Director Charlotte DeFilippo.  “Union County is leading the way toward these goals.”

The Improvement Authority will be hosting a series of local government outreach meetings, with municipal and school board officials to further explain the no cost details of the program.  Letters of invitation to municipal and school board representatives will be mailed out by mid-November.

Freeholder Chairman Mirabella added that “this program represents a significant contribution by Union County towards achieving the goals of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan. The Program is a wonderful opportunity for both Union County and the State of New Jersey.”