New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has given approval for New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) to implement a pilot program to help stimulate the market for natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the state and [communicate] the benefits they provide. Under this program, NJNG will invest up to USD 10 million, over the next 12 months, to build between five and seven compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling stations at host facilities throughout its service territory.
Beginning immediately, NJNG will work to identify companies in Monmouth, Ocean and Morris counties that currently use or plan to use NGVs in their fleet operations, such as waste hauling vehicles, buses and delivery trucks, to host the refueling stations. These facilities could be private companies or public and municipal entities. NJNG will install, own and maintain the infrastructure, and the host company will be required to make the station open to the public and use initially at least 20 percent of the refueling capacity.
NJNG, which applied for investment approval to build the CNG stations in June 2011, says its customers will not see any change to their bill in 2012 resulting from today’s approval. The total anticipated impact for the average residential customer using 1000 therms annually will be no more than three-tenths of one percent, or approximately $3.50.
The use of NGVs, particularly for commercial fleets, will help lower emissions and provide a viable and economically valuable alternative to traditional petroleum-based vehicles. New Jersey currently has only three natural gas refuelling stations that are open to the public. Adding more stations will incentivise NGV ownership as well as create economic and employment opportunity for New Jersey businesses and suppliers.
Last November, under the Clean Fuels Grant Program run by the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA), New Jersey Transit Corporation received USD 1.5 million to complete efficiency upgrades to its CNG fill station in Howell.
Also last year, in June, Waste Management officially opened the first public-access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Camden, New Jersey, at the same time announcing plans to convert its regional fleet to CNG.
“The need for greater fuel diversity has never been more important,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Natural Gas. “With the availability and price benefit of today’s natural gas, we have an opportunity to help grow our economy and protect our environment by encouraging the market for alternative fuel vehicles, and that’s good for New Jersey and our future.”
Compressed natural gas can reduce fuel costs between 30 and 50 percent over petroleum. Additionally, according to the American Gas Association natural gas powered vehicles produce up to 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel.
New Jersey Natural Gas is the principal subsidiary of New Jersey Resources.
(This article primarily compiled using information from a New Jersey Resources press release)