An NJ Spotlight Conference: Building a Sustainable Infrastructure After Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was a wakeup call to New Jersey, one that the state’s electric utilities and water companies have heeded. But as they move ahead with plans to build a more robust, reliable power grid and water infrastructure, what options are being considered and what will be its price tag?

This NJ Spotlight Conference: Building a Sustainable Infrastructure After Sandy tackled those and other tough questions. NJ Spotlight’s first extended-format event, this all-day conference gave panelists and participants the time they need to delve into details.

Former Gov. James Florio gave the keynote address.

Keynote Speaker Former Gov. James Florio
Florio has been out of the governor’s office for more than a decade, but his opinions have hardly tempered in that time. In a lunchtime address, New Jersey’s 49th governor spoke about the long-term challenges facing the state, financial and otherwise, his comments sometimes running counter to the currently prevailing politics and wisdom.

New Jersey’s Aging Water Infrastructure
New Jersey’s water infrastructure is falling apart. The state needs to spend more than $40 billion to fix a water distribution system that leaks at least 20 percent of the treated water it delivers to homeowners and businesses. Much of the money needs to be spent upgrading wastewater treatment plants, some of which dumped — after Sandy — hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into state waters, a source of drinking water for millions.

Moderator: Tom Johnson, energy writer, cofounder NJ Spotlight

Panelists: Michele Siekerka, Assistant Commissioner Water Resource Management, NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP); Robert E. Hughey, Member, Leadership Group, Facing Our Future; Principal, REHughey, LLC; former Commissioner, NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP); Stephen P. Schmitt, Vice President of Operations, New Jersey American Water; Richard S. Dovey, President, Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA)

The Power Grid in The Aftermath Of Sandy
With 2.7 million people without power following Sandy, some for up to two weeks, what can be done to make the state’s electric system more resilient in the event of extreme storms? It’s not going to be cheap. A recent report from a blue-ribbon panel suggests the state needs to invest close to $9 billion to make the grid more reliable.

Moderator: Tom Johnson, energy writer, cofounder NJ Spotlight

Panelists: Stefanie Brand, Director, NJ Office of the Rate Counsel; Dr. Edward Salmon, Chairman, NJ Energy Coalition; former President, Board of Public Utilities;Sara Bluhm, Vice President Environment, Energy & Federal Affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA); Ralph LaRossa, President and CEO, PSE&G; Dennis Wilson, President, Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association

Distributed Generation: The Wave of the Future
New Jersey’s power grid — particularly in the northern part of the state — is among the most congested in the country, adding huge costs to consumers’ electric bills. Developing new, more efficient power plants to serve local facilities — while continuing to deploy solar systems — is one way of dealing with the problem. This approach could also prevent outages at critical facilities, like hospitals and water treatment plants.

Moderator: Tom Johnson, energy writer, cofounder NJ Spotlight

Panelists: Gearoid Foley,New Jersey Director, Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Application Center,U.S. Department of Energy; Pamela Frank, vice president, Gabel Associates, LLC;
Bob Kudrick, Manager, Business Development for Combined Heat and Power, Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources; Stephen Poniatowicz, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Marina Energy; Jeff Perry, Chief Development Officer, Veolia Energy North America

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