While 2020 brought unprecedented challenges, we never lost sight of delivering on our commitments to provide more choices and cleaner energy solutions for our customers and helping New Jersey advance its climate goals. In 2021, we’re already seeing the results with the recent approval of our electric vehicle (EV) programs—a major milestone in our efforts to help combat climate change and advance New Jersey’s clean energy future.
Our new EV programs will provide rebates and incentives to support the development of 3,250 EV charging ports in public spaces, businesses and homes across South Jersey. This will significantly expand clean electric transportation options for all communities across our service area, while also supporting New Jersey’s climate goals, improving air quality and positioning the state as a leader in this rapidly growing segment of the transportation industry.
This year, we are also poised to begin delivering benefits for our customers and communities through two other major initiatives. First, our proposed suite of energy efficiency programs is being considered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). If approved, these programs are expected to save customers more than $550 million. Through new offerings, customers will have access to no-cost energy assessments, an array of incentives for energy efficiency upgrades, rebates on energy-efficient products, and a variety of other offerings to help them use less energy.
The BPU is also considering our proposed plan to build a Smart Energy Network across our entire service area. Installing smart meters and strengthening the local energy grid through this plan will enhance the system’s reliability and resiliency, improve customer service, and support new tools and programs to help customers save money and energy. It’s also a critical step in our efforts to create a smarter energy infrastructure that can serve as a common platform, connecting customers and communities to smart technologies and new energy services.
These initiatives come on top of our continued efforts to support solar energy options in South Jersey. We’ve helped customers connect more than 39,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems to the local energy grid and continue to support community solar projects in our service area to ensure the benefits of solar are accessible to all our customers. We are also advancing solutions to upgrade sections of the local energy grid and create new opportunities for solar in areas where the grid has limited capacity due to the rapid growth of solar over the past few years.
In a year where economic recovery and building greater equity in our communities will continue to be at the forefront of our minds, these programs offer unique opportunities to build back while enhancing social equity. From workforce development programs and job creation in South Jersey, to using our footprint to ensure all the communities we serve have fair and equitable access to these new services and benefits—we are committed to making sure these opportunities reach all our communities.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us to bring some of these initiatives to life, but together I am confident we can continue building a smarter, cleaner and stronger grid, create new opportunities across our region, and ensure all our communities have a clean, vibrant and sustainable future here in South Jersey.
Gary Stockbridge is region president for Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power.