New Jersey Resources added wind and solar in fiscal 2016

New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) said Nov. 17 in its third quarter earnings report that its NJR Clean Energy Ventures (NJRCEV) unit has grown its total wind and solar capacity to nearly 240 MW.

Notable is that the third calendar quarter of this year was the final quarter of the company’s 2016 fiscal year.

In fiscal 2016, NJRCEV constructed five commercial solar projects in New Jersey that qualify for investment tax credits (ITC). The projects, located in the townships of East Amwell, Raritan, Upper Freehold, Buena Vista and Bernards, added 21.8 MW of capacity and represent an investment of approximately $51.2 million.

Also, NJRCEV added 1,123 residential customers in fiscal 2016, totaling 10.4 MW of capacity, compared with 829 customers and 7.8 MW of capacity in fiscal 2015. The Sunlight Advantage program currently provides savings to nearly 5,100 eligible homeowners through both roof- and ground-mounted solar systems, with no upfront installation or maintenance costs. NJRCEV invested approximately $34 million in residential solar systems in fiscal 2016, compared with $25 million in fiscal 2015.

In December 2015, Congress passed the extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the ITC for solar. This extension is expected to help sustain long-term growth in the wind and solar markets in the United States, providing NJRCEV additional flexibility and options to deploy capital, the company said.

On Sept. 29, 2016, NJRCEV acquired the recently retrofitted Medicine Bow Wind Farm, its fifth onshore wind project. Located in Carbon County, Wyoming, approximately 80 miles outside of Cheyenne, the project consists of nine fully-operational Vestas turbines with a total capacity of 6.3 MW. The energy produced is sold to the Platte River Power Authority, where it is distributed to municipal utilities in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland, Colorado. All PTCs generated by the wind farm will be retained by NJR.

In addition, construction is nearing completion at the Ringer Hill Wind Farm, which is expected to be operational during the first quarter of fiscal 2017. NJRCEV is investing approximately $84 million to construct, own and operate the Somerset County, Pennsylvania, wind farm, consisting of 14 General Electric turbines, with a total capacity of 39.9 MW. The majority of the energy produced will be hedged under a 15-year agreement with Iron Mountain, a provider of storage and information management services. When this project is complete, NJRCEV’s onshore wind capacity will total approximately 127 MW.

NJR Midstream, the company’s natural gas midstream asset segment, had results affected by increased storage service demand and revenue at Steckman Ridge, a 12 Bcf natural gas storage facility in southwestern Pennsylvania, which partially offset the loss of revenue due to the transfer of ownership interest in the Iroquois Pipeline. In August 2015, NJR Midstream exchanged its 5.53% equity ownership in Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP for 1.8 million common units of Dominion Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: DM), a master limited partnership that owns several Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)-regulated assets.

NJR Midstream’s investments include its 50% equity ownership in Steckman Ridge, jointly owned with Spectra Energy, as well as a 20% interest in the proposed PennEast Pipeline. This 118-mile pipeline is designed to bring lower cost natural gas produced in the Marcellus Shale region to homes and businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provide greater system reliability for local utilities. PennEast filed a formal application with FERC in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 and currently estimates the system will be in-service by the first quarter of fiscal 2019. On March 29, FERC issued a Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement by Dec. 16, 2016, and the 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline is March 16, 2017.

New Jersey Resources is a Fortune 1000 company that, through its subsidiaries, provides safe and reliable natural gas and clean energy services, including transportation, distribution, asset management and home services. NJR is comprised of five primary businesses.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.