NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey Transit has backed off a plan to build a gas-fired power plant in northern New Jersey that drew opposition from environmental groups and surrounding towns.
The agency announced at its board meeting Wednesday night that it will repurpose the project to focus on renewable energy sources. NJ Transit’s board approved the hiring of a renewable energy consultant and up to $3 million in stipends to project bidders.
NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett called the project “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.”
The plant is scheduled to be built in Kearny and is part of NJ Transit’s broader plan created after Superstorm Sandy to increase the resiliency of its electrical system. More than $400 million of the estimated $557 million cost will be covered by federal funding, NJ Transit said.
Environmental groups and surrounding towns had opposed the plan and had mounted numerous protests over the past year.
“Communities across the state came together to tell Governor Murphy to find a better alternative, and today’s announcement shows that his administration is listening,” Sam DiFalco, organizer for Food & Water Action, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, said in an emailed statement Wednesday night.