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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Seeks to Make NJ a Leader in Fusion Energy

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Introduces Bill Package to Support Research & Commercialization of Fusion Energy Technology

Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced a bipartisan package of legislation to make New Jersey a global leader of fusion energy research and the development of commercial technology to bring fusion power to market, saying it represents a rare opportunity for the business and environmental communities to work together.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s package of bills would make New Jersey a global leader of fusion energy research and the development of commercial technology to bring fusion power to market. (SenateNJ.com)

“After bringing together and listening to experts in the field of fusion energy, it’s clear that the development and commercialization of this clean, sustainable source of power would revolutionize the way the world thinks about energy,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “As the home of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and a growing ecosystem of start-ups that are looking to bring fusion power to market, New Jersey has a real opportunity to be a global leader in fusion energy technology. It’s wholly apparent that some prudent moves by the State to support this industry in its infancy could yield massive dividends for our residents and New Jersey’s future. Just as California has its Silicon Valley, New Jersey could have its Fusion Epicenter if we play our cards right.”

Pennacchio’s action follows a fusion energy symposium that he hosted at the New Jersey State House in May, which brought together experts from national laboratories, business leaders, and researchers to discuss the state of fusion research and the commercialization of fusion as a power source.

As a result of what was learned at the symposium, Pennacchio has introduced the following package of fusion-related bills:

  • (S-3946) Includes 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-4045) Establishes a scholarship program for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the field of fusion science. Under the program, the state will award ten scholarships annually in the amount of $12,500 each to qualified recipients.  Each scholarship awarded will be contingent upon the recipient receiving an equal scholarship from their institution of higher education. Recipients must remain in good standing at the institution.
  • (S-4073) Provides that fusion energy and fusion technology companies are eligible to receive benefits under certain economic incentive programs. Under the bill, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) is required to adopt rules and regulations for the administration of economic incentive programs to provide that any reference or stipulation under a program related to the development or production of renewable energy, the development of emerging technologies, or to the expansion of targeted industries in this State connected to the award of a benefit or incentive to a company is deemed to include the development or production of fusion energy or fusion technology in this State.
  • (S-4074) Requires 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. 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-4075) Establishes 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.
  • (SR-146) Urges Congress to increase funding for fusion energy research. Europe, South Korea, and Japan are still setting goals and milestones for fusion and the United States needs to remain competitive in developing this technology.

“My legislation is designed to leverage our state’s existing research assets and the growing interest in public-private partnerships to promote the fusion industry in New Jersey,” Pennacchio said. “It positions New Jersey and our residents to reap substantial economic benefits when the fusion industry takes off. Further, it offers a rare opportunity for our business and environmental communities to work toward a common goal that benefits everyone.”

Pennacchio concluded by noting that fusion power has the opportunity to meet growing, global energy needs in an environmentally friendly manner.

“Fusion is one of the world’s most promising sources of energy, with the potential to supply our world’s growing electricity needs without further polluting the atmosphere or producing long-term radioactive waste,” Pennacchio added. “This is something that New Jersey and the world desperately need.”

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