South Jersey Gas Pipeline Project Overview

Improving natural gas pipleline infrastructure

Background on the Cape Atlantic Reliability Project

The Cape Atlantic Reliability Project will provide the B.L. England electric generation facility in Upper Township, Cape May County, with the necessary natural gas supply needed to convert the facility from a coal- and oil-fired electric generator to a natural-gas generator – becoming one of the cleanest power plants in New Jersey. Once converted, the new facility will generate 447 megawatts, enough energy to supply electricity to approximately 480,000 New Jersey homes. Repowering the facility will help to increase the amount of new, in-state electric generation, drastically reduce air emissions and reinforce the available power supply for the region.

The project will also reinforce the South Jersey Gas system for southern New Jersey. Currently, 142,000 customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties are only served by a single pipeline, making them more vulnerable to a service outage.

Although South Jersey Gas is currently able to serve the needs of customers with just one transmission pipeline, a disruption to this line – like that from an event such as Superstorm Sandy or damage by a third-party contractor/excavator – could result in a major disruption to customers’ natural gas service, potentially lasting multiple months. Adding a second natural gas line into this area will allow service to be provided from an alternate direction in the event of a failure, reinforcing the South Jersey Gas system and providing thousands of customers with increased reliability.

The Need for Local, Reliable Energy

The request of RC Cape May Holdings to refuel the B.L. England facility presented South Jersey Gas with the opportunity to address a potential customer’s needs while simultaneously fulfilling its own commitment to provide reliable service to customers by enhancing and reinforcing its infrastructure. Refueling the facility also assures the continued availability of this important asset and advances several goals of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, including the promotion of new, clean, in-state electric generation for power production and protecting our environment.

The current electricity demand for the region will either come from the repowered plant or from other generation units in the PJM system, older, less efficient, dirtier plants burning coal or oil, creating significantly higher air emissions. In other words, if the new plant is not built and doesn’t generate the needed power, then that electricity is coming from somewhere else; it comes from existing plants on the grid.

New Jersey is located in the Mid-Atlantic Critical Congestion Area, one of only two areas designated as such by the U.S. Department of Energy. The repowering is beneficial to the reliability of the electric system in southern New Jersey, by having a local source of electricity during events such as hurricanes, northeasters, summer heat waves and storms, and ice storms that disrupt the transmission system and impact the flow of imported electricity.  The benefits of local generation will only grow stronger with the 2019 closing of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station a 615 MW baseload plant.

The Route Of The Proposed South Jersey Gas Pipeline through the Pinelands

South Jersey Gas’ proposed pipeline will run beneath and alongside Routes 49 and 50, minimizing the impact on the environment.

Status of the Project

As of February 24, 2017, South Jersey Gas received final approval from the New Jersey Pinelands Commission to construct its Cape Atlantic Reliability Project. This approval is consistent with the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan allowance for energy infrastructure, which has been in place since 1980. Following that approval, the decision was challenged in court by special interest groups. These events continue to delay the construction of this critically important project and the benefits it brings for residents and businesses in southern New Jersey. Despite the efforts of project opponents, we remain optimistic that construction will begin in the coming months.

Over the last four years, South Jersey Gas has worked collaboratively and cooperatively with all of the governing agencies involved in this project and, subsequently, received their approvals. That process elicited extensive review which has produced a comprehensive formal record of both support for and opposition against the project, weighing the views of stakeholders both directly and indirectly involved with and effected by this project.

We believe that the compelling benefits of a cleaner, more efficient natural gas-fired B.L. England facility, supplying locally sourced, lower-cost power for residents, combined with the greater resiliency of a secondary line to South Jersey Gas customers in Cape May and Atlantic counties, cannot be ignored.