SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - The South Brunswick Township Council heard two presentations for the promotion of
renewable energy at last night’s council meeting. Nexmap, a solar energy company, expressed
interest in building solar panels at Sondek Park in Monmouth Junction. Food and Water Watch, a
nonprofit environmental group, proposed the township adopt a Community Choice Aggregation
to combat the effects of climate change and save residents money.
Nexamp is a solar energy company founded in 2007 with over 200 projects in the United
States, according to the presentation. The Company is asking the council permission to build
solar panels on 110.7 acres of land in the ‘Park Loop’ of Sondek Park on New Road. Nexmap is
offering South Brunswick Township a lease payment of $250, 920 for the first year with a 2%
escalation over the next 20 years.
Members of the council seemed interested in the proposal.
Charlie Kratovil, a journalist and activist, and Jim Walsh, a senior energy policy analyst,
spoke on behalf of Food and Water Watch about adopting a Community Choice Aggregation for
South Brunswick. Community Choice Aggregation is a way for municipal governments to
advance and improve their use of renewable energy sources by making a bulk purchase from an
energy supplier on behalf of the residents. This is in keeping with the New Jersey Government
Aggregation Act of 2003, which is used to help residents save money on gas and/or electric
New Brunswick was the first town in Middlesex County to implement some of these
measures, with a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by the year 2030. According to their
website, New Brunswick residents who switch to 100% renewable energy will spend only
$13.15 per kilo-watt hour.
Under this proposal, PSE&G will still be in charge of billing, meter readings and wire
maintenance in South Brunswick. The billing for electric supply will be switched over, at which
point the township will begin a bidding process with renewable energy suppliers. The township
council will then make a bulk purchase on the resident’s behalf.
One of the upsides to this program, according to Kratovil, is that the township is able
to lock in a price with a new provider. PSE&G is able to change the rates at least twice a year, a
price which will land on consumers according to Kratovil. The organization has put together
a model ordinance for the township council to adopt.
“We are hopeful that South Brunswick will hear us out. If they look at New Brunswick
and other communities that have done this they will have some good reasons to move in this
direction swiftly,” Kratovil said, “the least of which is that this is an urgent emergency to
address the climate crisis.”