Legislation To Promote Clean Energy Passes

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TRENTON – Legislation to promote alternative energy systems by deeming the technology as “inherently beneficial” when considered by local planning and zoning boards has received final legislative approval.

State court decisions have said a proposal “universally considered of value to the community” and that “serves the public good and promotes the general welfare” – such as a hospital, school, child care center or group home – presumptively satisfies the criteria for the granting of a land-use variance.

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The measure would codify that precedence in law while also similarly deeming wind- and solar-energy-producing facilities as inherently beneficial.

“Local planning needs to recognize the inherent benefits from providing clean, sustainable energy that can protect and preserve our natural resources,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex). “Responsibly designed renewable energy projects should be given every possible consideration.”

“Planning and zoning board decisions have an impact that can last for years,” said Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset). “The least we can do is ensure the positive communitywide impacts that can come from self-sufficient, renewable energy production.”

“Planning and zoning boards need to see projects that make sense for a community not just now, but will continue to pay dividends for years to come,” said Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex), a former member of Newark’s planning and zoning boards.  “Green energy solutions meet the highest standard of providing that long-term communal benefit.

“Clean and renewable energy is our future, and this legislation makes clear that it is a priority,” said Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “This bill is intended to ensure that facilities that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar or photovoltaic technologies will be considered an inherently beneficial use.”

The measure now goes to the governor.


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