New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Panel Clears Pennacchio Legislation Supporting Businesses Developing Fusion Energy and Technology

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Companies Would be Eligible to Apply for EDA Incentive Programs

Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio that would ensure that fusion technology companies could be eligible to apply under certain economic incentive programs cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee today.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Joe Pennacchio that would ensure that fusion technology companies could be eligible to apply under certain economic incentive programs cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee. (Pixabay)

The bill, S-219, is Pennacchio’s second measure bolstering the development of fusion energy in the state approved by Senate Committees in the last week.

“Fusion energy has the limitless potential to produce safe, clean, renewable electric power,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “This technological breakthrough could one day soon change the world. If Trenton takes care of business, New Jersey can be positioned to become a global leader in this promising new power source.”

Pennacchio’s bill provides that fusion energy and fusion technology companies would be eligible to apply for programs administered by the state’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) to stimulate economic development of new or existing renewable energy or technology companies.

“The quest to master the promise of fusion is one of the greatest scientific undertakings ever,” Pennacchio noted. “With this legislation, New Jersey and EDA will be ready to assist with incentives when the time is right.

“Millions of dollars are being spent on fusion research and experimentation. Top researchers and scholars are hard at work, and as more is learned and discovered the pace of progress will explode,” said Pennacchio, who introduced a package of six bills after hosting a Fusion Energy Symposium at the State House in May 2019.

The Senate Higher Education Committee advanced one of his measures on Thursday. S-218 would establish a scholarship program for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in New Jersey who are studying or conducting research in plasma physics and fusion energy science. The program would be administered by the state’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA).

Other bills in Pennacchio’s fusion energy package include:

  • S-217Includes fusion within the definition of Class I renewable energy as defined in the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act. Other Class I renewable energies include energy produced from solar technologies, wind energy, etc. Enacted in 1999, the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act fundamentally changed the way residential and commercial consumers of electricity pay for their services. It separates the cost of generating and supplying power from the cost of delivering it. Under this bill, consumers would be able to purchase fusion energy when it becomes available.
  • S-220Requires the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), in consultation with the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology to establish a Fusion Technology Industry Development Program to promote the fusion technology industry in the State and to attract fusion technology businesses to the State. It also requires the EDA to provide technical and financial assistance to fusion technology businesses considering locating in New Jersey and to invest moneys from business assistance programs administered by the EDA, as may be available.
  • S-992Establishes the NJ Fusion Technology Industry Commission. The commission is to consist of the following nine members: the Secretary of Higher Education; the chair of the Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology; the Executive Director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; two members from NJ colleges and four public members with a background in fusion. The bill requires the commission to be responsible for the development and oversight of policies and programs in fusion energy and technology development in New Jersey and report annually to the Governor and Legislature.

Pennacchio’s fusion initiative also included a resolution (SR-14) approved by the Senate in June 2020 calling on Washington to support the research and development of fusion, emphasizing its promise as an inexpensive, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy source.

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