PSEG and the National Football League have reached an agreement ensuring that every kilowatt of electricity used for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium and many game-related events will be offset by renewable energy credits that support New Jersey wind-power and solar projects.
The agreement covers all energy that will be used in the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 and the week after at MetLife Stadium, as well as at the two Jersey City hotels that will be used by the Super Bowl teams. The NFL’s Super Bowl headquarters hotel in mid-Manhattan is also included in the agreement.
The effect will be to offset the pollution created in producing the extra power for the game and related events by directing revenue to clean-power sources.
“We’re working to be more green, and when the NFL came knocking to discuss doing this, it seemed like a perfect fit,” said Joseph Roenbeck, green-products energy trader for the Public Service Enterprise Group. “If you get a number of initiatives like this, in the long run it could help stimulate more renewable-energy construction because it increases demand for green energy.”
Hosting the Super Bowl gives New Jersey a chance to highlight its successes, including that it ranks near the top among states in solar installations, said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of Public Service Electric and Gas, a PSEG subsidiary that operates solar farms in the state.
“Some people hear New Jersey, and they only think of ‘The Sopranos,’Ÿ” LaRossa said.
“Now we’re going to be able to show them we’ve got solar farms on top of old landfills and get the message out to the rest of the country about how far in the lead New Jersey is with renewable solar energy,” he said.
The agreement also includes energy used for the NFL’s fan event, called Super Bowl Boulevard, a series of temporary attractions in Times Square during the four days before the big game. Free attractions will include a 180-foot-long, 58-foot-high toboggan run, a display of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, a photo opportunity with the 50-foot-wide Roman numerals XLVIII, and autograph sessions with former players.
The agreement does not cover energy used for Super Bowl events held at the old and new Meadowlands Racetrack grandstands.
Jack Groh, director of the NFL’s environmental program, said the NFL has negotiated similar renewable-energy agreements for the last seven Super Bowls, but this one is more comprehensive.
Most states require that power companies include some renewable energy in their power generating portfolio, like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric.
Companies that don’t produce renewable energy or enough to meet their states’ requirements can make up the difference by buying renewable energy credits from companies that do generate such power.
The renewable credits that PSEG buys to cover its Super Bowl agreement will not count toward its New Jersey requirements, Roenbeck said.
Though PSEG officials don’t know for certain how much energy will be consumed during the four weeks covered by the agreement with the NFL, they estimate that it will be somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 megawatt hours, Roenbeck said.
Each renewable energy credit represents one megawatt hour of energy. Credits are traded in an open market.
Currently, solar renewable credits sell for about $145, while wind renewable credits sell for about $14. Solar credits are far more expensive because solar panels produce less energy than wind farms and are a more expensive technology.
PSEG could end up spending roughly $100,000 to purchase the renewable credits it needs to cover the NFL Super Bowl agreement. The NFL is not paying PSEG to purchase the credits, but will allow PSEG some advertising along Super Bowl Boulevard and elsewhere.
PSEG will purchase the bulk of the credits from Community Energy, which developed the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm in Atlantic City. It opened in 2005 and has five 380-foot turbines that, combined, can generate up to 7.5 megawatts of power at a time — enough to power 2,500 homes.
PSEG will also purchase solar credits from companies that produce solar power in New Jersey. It plans to buy 230 megawatt hours of solar renewable credits, the amount typically generated in a month by a solar farm in Kearny owned by its PSEG subsidiary.
“By purchasing wind and solar renewable energy credits locally, PSEG has added more value to this project,” the NFL’s Groh said. “Purchasing locally puts money into the local economy and can help finance construction of additional renewable energy capacity in the region, something that will have a lasting impact.”
Because of regulatory issues, PSEG can’t buy solar credits from its own subsidiary, PSEG, which operates 24 solar-power sites in the state, including the 13-acre site in Kearny.
PSEG’s solar farm in Kearny sits on top of a capped landfill within site of MetLife Stadium and can generate up to 3 megawatts of power at a given time. Over the course of a year, the site’s 12,506 solar panels generate enough electricity to power 500 homes.
The solar farm started operating in December 2011. PSEG also operates smaller solar farms in Hackensack and Clifton. PSEG’s 24 solar sites can generate 40 megawatts of power. In addition, the utility has attached 180,000 solar panels to utility poles throughout the state to generate another 40 megawatts of power.
PSEG Power’s gas-fired Bergen Generating Station in Ridgefield, by contrast, can produce 1,204 megawatts of power.
PSEG recently received state approval to expand its solar project by an additional 40 megawatts that will be generated by solar farms installed on landfills and brown fields — formerly contaminated industrial sites.
The utility evaluated more than 1,000 such sites throughout the state and has narrowed the candidates to 30 it is reviewing, said Todd Hranicka, PSEG’s director of solar energy.
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