BY KATHY CHANG
WOODBRIDGE — The breaking of ground for the new Sewaren 7, a highly-efficient generating plant, in essence is a sign that the state is moving above and beyond the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The plant is expected to support energy reliability in the region, create jobs and tax revenues for the township.
“New Jersey, in so many ways, became stronger after Sandy,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a ceremony on June 14. “What’s happened here in Sewaren is a great example of how we are working to ensure New Jersey’s communities and infrastructure is better prepared to withstand extreme weather situations.”
Ralph Izzo, PSEG chairman and CEO, said Sandy’s storm surge devastated the Sewaren section of Woodbridge including their generating stations and the adjacent electric switching station.
“Our employees worked diligently to get both back online and restore power to our customers in the aftermath of the storm,” he said.
However, Izzo said it was clear at the time that they needed to make their systems more resilient in the wake of severe weather.
Christie and Izzo were joined by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac for the groundbreaking and dedication event.
The new Sewaren 7 power plant will replace the existing plant that is being retired after almost 70 years of providing energy to the region, with more efficient, cleaner technology including a full complement of emissions controls.
It will run primarily on natural gas, but also when gas may be curtailed, Sewaren 7 will be able to run on ultra-low sulfur distillate (ULSD) fuel oil as a backup, supporting fuel diversity and exceptional dependability.
The plant represents an investment of more than $600 million and is targeted to be operational in time for summer 2018.
The project is expected to generate about 350 jobs during the two-year construction phase.
Mayor McCormac said the township welcomes PSEG’s economic investment at the Sewaren site and said the investment has brought tremendous economic benefits in terms of job creation, community contribution and tax revenue and increased resiliency in the electric substation that services more than 100,000 residents in Woodbridge Township.