NOW THIS IS A POWER LUNCHEON — Jersey Central Power & Light

Visitors to Atlantic City Sheraton see many lavishly framed photographs of Miss America beauty pageants and the comely winners of yesteryear.

But last month in the Grand Ballroom, a much different —more impressive — kind of achievement was being recognized

Recipients of the 7th annual “Sustainable Jersey” leadership awards are the most successful of the 430 New Jersey cities and townships participating in this game-changing statewide program.  They are making significant strides in reducing carbon emissions, protecting water resources, reducing waste, building economic and social resiliency while earning incentive points for grants and technical assistance.

 To date, these municipalities have already received more than $1 million in grants, funded primarily by one utility partner (PSEG).  Other New Jersey utility companies, along with underwriters such as banks, insurance companies and philanthropic foundations, are also funding exemplary “Sustainable Jersey” projects.  

Municipalities join Sustainable Jersey, then earn points by taking specified actions in locally sensible ways.  They may be creating composting programs to reduce the emissions of hauling solid waste, cutting toxic emissions by tackling vehicle idling, or entertaining (while educating) school children with musical comedy performances about the struggle to put Captain Carbon in his place.  A data-driven point system ensures that communities are measuring their progress consistently.  And the culture of peer support and friendly competition encourages municipalities to become re-certified in the Sustainable Jersey campaign each year.

The program has been skyrocketing in popularity.  That is helped by a dynamic partnership with the 100-year-old New Jersey League of Municipalities, which now devotes part of its annual three-day convention to various sustainability workshops and to the special Awards luncheon.    

Other exemplary municipal sustainability and smart energy management programs and tools have been created across the country, showing the richness of this movement:

  • A “DeCarbonize Chicago” initiative gave rise to the 10-city 2030 Districts program;
  • The Washington D.C.-based STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating) Communities rating system provides technical and peer support for communities seeking STAR certifications and sustainability-oriented master plans;
  • Green Power Partners and Green Power Communities receive national recognition from the EPA for using renewable energy across all sectors;
  • The U.S. Department of Energy released a special “City-Level Energy Decision Making” report this past summer that shows how 20 sample cities are using data to create cleaner, more livable urban environments

Now our Clean Water Fund team is partnering with the Institute for Sustainable Energy and local Clean Energy Task Force representatives, to explore the creation of a holistic municipal sustainability program like SJ, which dovetails so well with Connecticut’s current exemplary initiatives in smart energy management.  It will take a strong public private partnership to implement.  But the timing is perfect since Connecticut is reassessing and planning for deeper emissions cuts through the Governor’s Council on Climate Change.  Having witnessed first-hand in Atlantic City the achievements of New Jersey’s cities and towns – and their leaders’ enthusiasm for their awards – we came back motivated to help develop a strong program for Connecticut.



Community Updates


Woodstock is currently in the process of installing their 1MW solar array.  The array will be a brownfield installation covering, what once was, their former landfill.  Concrete ballasts will weigh down the panel's framework to prevent any breach of the landfill's membrane... See Press Release


In the recent approval of the 2016-18 Conservation and Load Management (CL&M) Plan by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), there is good news and not-so-good news... Read More



Calendar Highlights


HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

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