Monday, August 9, 2010

About that UCIA Crap Sandwich

The Union County Improvement Authority's $45 million renewable energy program has been received with open arms by some municipalities, including Linden, and various other public entities scattered throughout Union County with little or no question.  Others, such as Summit and Cranford, have not yet committed to the project, citing the need for more information.

Other NJ public agencies have initiated their own solar panel programs which not only supply lower-cost utilities, but enable those entities to directly sell their own Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC's).

The Township of Verona is one.  See Verona Environmental Commission website here.

From the Verona website:

"SRECs sold by Verona

So far Verona’s three systems have produced a total of 102,461 kilowatt hours and saved 174,184 carbon units, or 87 tons of CO2.
  • During the 2007-2008 energy year, which runs from June to May, Verona sold SRECs at $262.50.
  • During the 2008-2009 year, we are getting $600 per SREC."
According to this article, Verona is currently earning $75,000 a year from the sale of its SREC's.

What Linden and the other participating public agencies have been promised for joining the program is the right to purchase energy at reduced rates, with the vendor being responsible for repayment of the bond.  The DeCotiis lawyer, in this video clip, states that the energy must be sold at 25% below market rate to the participants. I have not come across any information as to how much of the captured energy will be available for purchase.

It appears that SREC's are a valuable commodity.  It is estimated for the energy year 2011, SREC's will trade in the $620 to $640 range.  See here for more energy info. Who knows?  Maybe the SREC's are worth as much or even more than the price of the reduced energy.  I contacted Verona, but was unable to secure that information.

Would the participants benefit by investing in its own solar panel programs where not only would lower energy costs be available, but the ability to sell these valuable SREC's? That's one issue that perhaps the other towns are looking into.  Someone should.

Besides the failed UCIA projects in Linden, it's no comfort that Mary Jane Cooper, New Jersey’s first Inspector General, in her report on the failed Encap project, stated:

"EnCap and its attorney, the Teaneck-based DeCotiis firm, misled the state about key elements of the project."

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