Over the past month, state legislators have introduced several pieces of legislation designed to encourage the use of electric vehicles (EVs) that are more environmentally-friendly than traditional vehicles that run on gas or diesel.
The legislative moves coincide with NJ Transit announced plans to move toward a zero-emission bus fleet.
On May 24, the full Assembly advanced legislation to set regulations for and spur the installation of certain EV charging infrastructure in New Jersey.
Under the measure (A-2108/5032), an application for development submitted solely for the installation of EV supply equipment or Make-Ready parking spaces is to be considered a permitted accessory use and accessory structure in all zoning, or use districts of a municipality, no longer requiring a variance.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs would be required to develop a model land use ordinance for the siting of EV supply equipment and Make-Ready parking spaces, and to post the ordinance on its website.
The legislation sets standards for EV supply equipment and Make-Ready parking space installation in parking garages and residential developments. Gas stations and existing retail establishments would be exempt from certain requirements when proposing to install EV charging infrastructure.
Bipartisan legislation that encourages the inclusion of zero-emission vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure in municipal redevelopment projects was advanced in early June by the State Senate.
“To meet New Jersey’s goals for clean, renewable energy requires expanding access to charging sites for drivers of electric vehicles,” said State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16), who sponsored the bill. “This bill encourages local governments to incorporate new charging infrastructure in plans for redevelopment. It makes sense to accomplish both initiatives in one unified project.”
A report of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan Alternative Fuels Work Group identified the development, installation, and EV maintenance charging infrastructure, both at home and at strategically selected public places, as one of the most significant opportunities to advance the deployment and use of EVs in the state.
Making EV Charging Affordable
Easing the confusion about electric charging stations for residents in New Jersey, Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson (D-37), Annette Chaparro (D-33), and Robert Karabinchak (D-18) sponsored legislation approved by the full Assembly on June 4 to help tenants pay residential rates in EV charging stations at planned real-estate developments.
The bill (A-2360) ensures that residential unit owners who live in planned real-estate developments will be charged a more affordable residential rate when using anEV charging station.
Currently, planned real estate developments are allowed to use the much higher commercial rates forEV charging stations instead of the residential rate which can be a lower price in some areas of the state. Under the bill, the customer using the electric charging station is prohibited from selling the electricity in any capacity.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Incentives
Seeking to incentivize adoption of equipment powered by hydrogen fuel cells, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure (A-740) into law in May that will require State agencies awarding contracts for the purchase of equipment to consider items powered by fuel cells.
The law was approved by the full Assembly 74-0-0 and by the Senate 36-0-0.
“Fuel cells have great potential and are demonstrating tremendous value as a clean energy source in New Jersey, ” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, one of the measure’s sponsors. “Fuel cells are a highly efficient and reliable alternative to fossil fuels that challenge our conventional understanding of energy and fuel sources.”
“We are seeing smart businesses across the state embrace fuel cells from a sustainability, cost, and resiliency perspective,” Johnson continued. “By ensuring that State agencies make innovation a priority, this law will stimulate greater use of fuel cells across New Jersey that will benefit both our economy and the environment.”
NJ Transit continues to aggressively advance its zero-emissions bus program with the release of its roadmap to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet at the May 25 Board of Directors Energy & Sustainability committee meeting.
The roadmap is highlighted by several key efforts in recent weeks, including the release of a Request for Proposals from qualified consulting firms for the Bus Garage Modernization Program, and the application submitted for federal funding to acquire additional battery electric buses to be used in the Newark region. NJ Transit remains on track for the launch of the deployment of eight electric buses in Camden by the end of this year.
“The roadmap to achieving a 100% zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040 is establishing the foundation that will ultimately create NJ Transit’s environmentally friendly fleet of the future,” said Board Vice-Chair Cedrick T. Fulton. “Advancing the modernization of NJ Transit’s bus garages and applying for additional federal funding for electric buses are critical steps to meeting this very ambitious and important goal.”