State and local officials will be hosting a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26 on the regional impact of the closure of Oyster Creek Generating Station and options moving forward.
Congressman Jon Runyan along with local officials from Lacey, Ocean and Barnegat Townships will be holding the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Lacey Middle School, Lacey Committeeman David Most announced at the township meeting on Sept. 13.
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss potential options and opportunities moving forward,” Runyan said in a letter, encouraging local and state governments, businesses and business organizations and members of the public to attend.
The closure of Oyster Creek, America’s oldest operating nuclear power plant, was announced in December 2010 after reaching an agreement with the state. The plant will shut down in 2019, ten years before its federal operating license expires.
“This has been going on for two years now, when we got the notice,” Most said, thanking Runyan for his assistance. “He has embraced Lacey Township… And he also helped us get onto the Energy Master Plan for New Jersey.”
The state’s Energy Master Plan discusses the importance of replacing the nuclear plant’s capacity upon its closure. It cites Lacey Township as a good place to locate a new plant because of the presence of a “highly skilled workforce,” community support and the existing electrical transmission infrastructure.
The retirement of Oyster Creek will present the state with a challenge and its location prevents “significant transmission bottlenecks and overloads,” the plan says.
When a power plant closes, there is usually an increase in wholesale energy and capacity prices, the plan states. Also, at least $100 million in transmission upgrades will be required in order to transfer energy to the region, Greg Reinert, spokesman for the Board of Public Utilities, previously said.
The meeting will cover all this as well as the physical feasibility of a new major energy generation facility, Most said.
Speakers at the meeting will include local officials, professional engineers and planners from Birdsall Services Group, and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Office of Planning Advocacy.
Birdsall conducted a feasibility study for Lacey Township for $22,500. The study provides an assessment of existing conditions, development constraints and permitting requirements at 798 South Main St., which is currently owned by JCP&L and located behind Oyster Creek.
“Oyster Creek is a major provider for both jobs and electricity for Ocean County, and the planning process must begin in order to ensure a smooth transition to a post Oyster Creek economy and economy,” Runyan said.
Oyster Creek employs nearly 700 workers, provides electricity for 600,000 New Jersey homes and began commercial operations in 1969. The plant is one of the largest employers in Ocean County, and annually provides more than $70 million in wages, property taxes and purchases of goods and services from New Jersey businesses.
The agenda for the meeting is below.
Questions and concerns regarding this issue and the meeting can be directed to Jeff Brabant at 202-225-4765.
Agenda for Public Information Session on the Proposed Energy Enterprise Zone
1. Opening—Congressman Jon Runyan
- Introduction of Elected Officials and Issue Experts
- Overview—How we got here? Why are we here?
- Objective of Public Information Session/Future Public Involvement
2. Regional Resource Diversification/Long-Term Energy Impacts and Environmental Benefits
3. Long-Term Economic Impacts and Opportunities
- Perspectives on Local Impacts and Opportunities—Perspectives from Municipal Leaders
- Potential for Regional Growth in Various Employment Sectors
4. Realities of Energy Markets/Statewide and Local Impacts
- Physical Feasibility of a New Major Energy Generation Facility
- Potential Range of Options to Replace Lost Energy Generation
5. Process Moving Forward
- Future Workshops and Public Input Opportunities
- Development of Long-Range “Energy Enterprise Zone” Plan
6. Opportunity for Small Group Discussions with Issue Experts