Dakota Power Partners Announces Planned $1 Billion Investment in New Jersey

MILLVILLE, NJ (May 30, 2019) – With the objective of helping New Jersey achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals, a renewable energy company is proposing a $1 billion utility-scale solar investment in the State. Dakota Power Partners, which has offices in Millville, NJ and Denver, CO, is proposing to develop a portfolio of low-cost, utility-scale solar and solar + battery storage projects across the Garden State. Collectively, the new solar projects will total over 1,000 megawatts of generating capacity and will produce enough energy to power 175,000 households, which represents more than the households in Newark, Paterson, Trenton and Atlantic City combined.

Dakota will develop 1,000 megawatts of zero-emissions energy at a price that will have no impact on NJ consumers. “Today, utility-scale solar is the lowest-cost source of renewable energy in the Mid-Atlantic” said Tim Daniels, Dakota Principal and Co-Founder.  “These projects can be built quickly and at a fraction of the cost of other renewable energy technologies. In fact, the cost will be at or below the price that NJ ratepayers currently pay for renewable power from out-of-state generators.”

Dakota is calling on State regulators to establish a goal in the 2019 State Energy Master Plan of 3,000 megawatts of in-state utility-scale solar by 2030. Dakota has performed a detailed market potential analysis and found that, not only is a 3,000-megawatt target feasible, achieving it would create enormous economic development benefits for communities throughout the State, and particularly South Jersey. This can be achieved in a manner that is complimentary to the State’s objectives for growing both small-scale solar and offshore wind.

While NJ will continue to promote small-scale solar and offshore wind, these actions alone cannot keep pace with the State’s overall renewable energy mandate established in the 2018 Clean Energy Act. In fact, even if the State doubled the quantity of small-scale solar AND achieved its offshore wind goals, this would only supply about 60% of the renewable power required to achieve the State’s 2030 target. The remaining renewable power would therefore have to be purchased from out-of-state generators, which create no local jobs, generate no local spending, and pay no local taxes.  Based on the NJ Board of Public Utilities’ price forecasts, this could result in NJ ratepayers paying out-of-state generators a total of approximately $2.3 billion over the next decade. Adopting an in-state utility-scale solar target would help reverse this trend and ensure that the funds are invested in NJ communities.

Tim Daniels explained, “achieving the State’s renewable energy goal for 2030 and beyond will require a broad-based approach that includes all clean energy technologies. It will be virtually impossible for the State to achieve its goals in a cost-effective manner without utility-scale solar being a central pillar of its plan.”

Building 3,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar in NJ by 2030 would create significant and quantifiable economic development benefits for NJ communities – benefits that would otherwise flow to out-of-state renewable energy facilities. By redirecting hundreds of millions of dollars collected from NJ ratepayers and investing that money in NJ communities, Dakota estimates that 1,000 construction jobs would be sustained for the full 10-year build out.

The solar farms would also generate numerous permanent operations and maintenance jobs. All told, the utility-scale solar initiative would generate approximately $180 million in NJ wages. Local construction and operations spending (e.g. local contractors, hotels, restaurants, gas stations) would total approximately $400 million. Local property taxes would equal approximately $360 million over the life of the projects. Hence, the aggregate economic development benefits to NJ communities would total $940 million – benefits that would otherwise flow to neighboring states that generate renewable energy for NJ.

“If anyone doubts the potential economic benefits of utility-scale solar, I point them to the projects Dakota has announced in NJ,” said Daniels. Dakota is committed to three solar projects in Cumberland County and one in Salem County that will result in $390 million in direct investment and generate $60 million in property taxes for local communities. The proposed projects will require virtually no municipal or county services while creating roughly 800 high-paying construction jobs and 20 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. Dakota plans to announce additional projects in coming months.

Daniels went on to say, “Solar farms have virtually no impact on the environment, using no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Unlike traditional power plants, solar farms consume no water and generate no wastewater which means healthier rivers, lakes, and aquafers. We also plant native, pollinator-friendly grasses as groundcover to protect against erosion and to increase biodiversity at the sites. 3,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar would use less than 1% of US Department of Agriculture classified land in NJ, while avoiding greenhouse gases equal to taking 868,000 cars off the road each year. These sites will become a model of the perfect intersection between economic growth and environmental preservation.”

About Dakota Power Partners:

Led by energy industry veterans, Dakota Power Partners works closely with local communities, landowners, commercial and industrial customers, and utilities to develop large-scale clean energy projects. Our projects produce low-cost clean energy, benefit host communities, and create 21st century American jobs. The Dakota Power Partners team has more than 65 years of combined experience in the nation’s power generation industry and has participated in the development of more than 3,150 megawatts of operating and in-construction wind and solar projects around the U.S., representing an aggregate capital investment in rural communities in excess of $3.8 billion. For more information about Dakota Power Partners, visit dakotapp.com.