NJ Transit announces path forward on NJ TRANSITGRID Project

Oct. 23, 2020
The board released a plan to incorporate renewable energy technology, fulfilling the goals of the governor’s energy master plan.

A re-imagined path forward for the NJ TRANSITGRID was announced by the New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) Board of Directors, committing to hiring a renewable energy consultant to assist in the project’s multi-step design and feasibility process and approving up to $3 million in stipends to qualified bidders in order to foster the most creative, environmentally-sound bid proposals.

“The stipend program authorized by our board will encourage innovation and allow NJ Transit to solicit the best possible technical design and construction solutions for our NJ TRANSITGRID project,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

“NJ TRANSITGRID is a critical resiliency project that ensures we can maintain limited, but vital, rail service for our customers in the event of local and regional power interruptions,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “We will be incentivizing the national and international developer community to come up with the most innovative designs that will allow us to maximize the use of renewable energy for this project. Our commitment is to deliver a project that meets the needs of our riders and remains consistent with [[New Jersey] Gov. Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan.’’

The board also created an ad hoc Energy and Sustainability Policy Committee to oversee NJ Transit’s efforts and ensure renewable energy technologies are incorporated into the $557-million power reliability project. The committee will be comprised of Board Members Cedric T. Fulton, Sangeeta Doshi and James D. Adams. The special board committee’s meetings will be open to the public to provide increased opportunities for public engagement. The committee will also consider issues related to zero emission fleet vehicle deployment, adoption of NJ Transit’s first sustainability plan, and other issues as may be appropriate.

The competitive bidder stipend program approved by the board will encourage short-listed project proposers to make the most use of renewable, green energy options in their bid proposals.

Developers will apply via a two-step procurement process involving an initial Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that will seek to establish a pool of qualified proposers followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will require the qualified proposers to submit comprehensive technical and financial proposals to integrate renewable or other zero emissions energy technologies into the proposed Microgrid Central Facility. Each qualified team will be awarded a stipend valued at $1 million after completion of the RFP step, with the total anticipated value of the stipend program not exceeding $3 million.

NJ Transit is in the process of hiring a renewable energy consultant to assist in the multi-step design and feasibility process. The consultant will assist in maximizing the renewables scope of the project, conduct a review of recent utility scale renewables and storage projects of similar capabilities, support the evaluation of renewables team experience in response to the RFQ and assist with drafting of the RFP.

Also, later this month, NJ Transit will host a Microgrid Market Outreach event for potential bidders and bidding teams. The event will review the project’s renewables energy strategy, allowing time for potential bidders to form a renewables team and meet other requirements as the project proceeds.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the NJ TRANSITGRID facility was envisioned as a primarily natural gas turbine powered facility. However, NJ Transit and Gov. Murphy say they are committed to a microgrid capable of employing, to the greatest extent possible, renewable generation and energy storage technologies capable of providing highly reliable power to a core segment of NJ Transit and Amtrak’s critical service territory during extreme weather or outages in the commercial power grid.

NJ Transit has been awarded more than $409 million in federal funds for NJ TRANSITGRID. The project is a result of a partnership between NJ Transit, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Transit Administration.