NJ Transit Efforts to Ensure Energy Supply Berated by Usual Suspects

RGGIJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

 

No amount of planning for the energy needs of NJ Transit earns anything but destructive harassment from the usual suspect fractivists.

Behaving like the petulant children they are, anti-fossil fuelers in New Jersey are demanding a face-to-face meeting with the board of NJ Transit so they can make a case (i.e. bully the board) against building a small, clean-burning natural gas-fired power plant NJ Transit will be used to power trains in cases of emergency. It’s a backup plant–not even running all the time. Yet antis, so corrupted by their own hatred of “fossil fuels,” are demanding NJ Transit use unreliable solar instead.

NJ Transit

Radical greens continue to agitate and protest against a tiny 140-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant for NJ Transit in Kearny, NJ. A group of them (along with leftist politicians they have coopted) staged a “rally” in July to try and pressure NJ’s lefty governor, Phil Murphy, into finding a way to block the project.

The Kearny plant would power a microgrid that in turn would power rail lines during weather emergencies and power outages. That is, the plant only comes online during such episodes. And yet these nuts don’t want it. Perhaps they’d enjoy being stuck on a train with no power?

The state will use federal money allocated to improve the reliability and resilience of mass transportation during weather events to fund the project. We’re fairly certain Marcellus gas would be used to power the plant, hence our interest.

Even during a pandemic, these people have nothing better to do with their time than pester public officials and demand things, like children stomping their feet to get their own way. Here’s the story from NJ.com.”

While electric buses were boasted as a step to meet Gov. Phil Murphy’s pollution reduction goals to have 100% of NJ Transits bus purchases be electrics by 2032, the agency’s planned $546 million Transit Grid power plant proposed on a 20-acre site in Kearny was criticized by opponents for potentially worsening state air quality.

Environmentalists and residents of nearby cities said the proposed power plant would worsen unhealthy air and respiratory health problems in nearby neighborhoods. It also violates Murphy’s executive order setting clean air goals, protesters said.

Opponents won a commitment from Transportation Commissioner Diane Guterrez-Scaccetti, NJ Transit’s board chairwoman, that she would answer their request for a meeting to present new information about building a solar powered-battery plant instead. She said opponents could expect a letter next week.

That commitment came after numerous speakers criticized the agency for not responding to current research they provided in a 26-page document that countered the conclusion made in an April environmental report that said renewable energy technology couldn’t meet the need. Opponents have been speaking at board meetings for months.

In July, Guterrez-Scaccetti said she hoped NJ Transit’s board could meet opponents after the coronavirus pandemic subsided enough to allow face to face meetings to resume.

“Are you not willing to change the plans, when faced with a better possibility?” said Ken Dolsky, of the Don’t Gas the Meadowlands Coalition. “You asked us to wait many months while you push this forward, that is the message you sent. We must have a meeting and discuss it like adults.”

While NJ Transit officials said they have met with Transit Grid opponents, no meeting has been held since January to discuss the findings of the groups 26-page report.

“The last meeting with NJ Transit was in January, since then we provided new information and requested a meeting April and there has been radio silence,” said John Richmond, Blue Wave NJ environmental committee chairman.

Jersey City and Hoboken’s council joined seven other municipalities, formally opposing a natural gas powered TransitGrid power plant.

TransitGrid was proposed after Hurricane Sandy knocked out the commercial power grid and electric powered train service in October 2012. The plan would give NJ Transit its own power generating capacity to provide electricity to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, the Morris and Essex lines of NJ Transit commuter rail, and the Hudson-Bergen light rail in case of a power outage.

You only need to know one word to know how using solar and batteries will work as a backup during heavy loads and times of crisis: California.

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