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Community Energy Plans

What is a Community Energy Plan?

A Community Energy Plan helps a community work toward a better environment for all residents by using the state’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) as a guide to align local efforts. The EMP identifies seven strategies for rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by targeting efforts to reduce energy use, reduce emissions, increase renewable energy, and more.  

Community Energy Planning is the process by which communities collaboratively select and strategically implement emissions-reducing initiatives that fulfill the EMP goals.  This Process includes assembling a planning team of local municipal staff, elected officials, relevant municipal board and commission members, and community volunteers. This planning team assesses the municipality’s needs and helps find the opportunities for energy resiliency, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Community Energy Plan Grant (CEPG) Program

In 2019, the Board established a Community Energy Plan Grant Program. While the EMP provides a framework for a statewide transition to 100% clean energy by 2050, the Community Energy Plan Grant Program provides support to municipalities to develop climate action plans at the local level based on their assessment of which EMP strategies are most applicable in their respective communities.

The Community Energy Plan Grant Program was redesigned for program year 2 by the Office of Clean Energy Equity to prioritize low- and moderate-income and overburdened communities by removing barriers to participation and providing more financial and technical support to those communities that are most in need of these grants.

Program year 3 was approved on November 17, 2023, with some changes made to the program. The changes include:

  • Shorter grant timeline - now 12 months
  • Expanded criteria to determine Overburdened Municipalities - MRI score now needs to be 40 or higher to qualify under this criteria
  • Proposed budget now after technical assistance consultations with Sustainable Jersey

All municipalities are eligible to receive a $10,000 grant. Municipalities identified as being Overburdened Municipalities (OBMs) are eligible to receive a $25,000 grant. A chart containing OBMs for the current program year can be found below.

The application window for CEPG is now closed. All applications were submitted to community.energy@bpu.nj.gov by 5:00 pm Eastern time on May 24, 2024. For questions regarding this program, please email community.energy@bpu.nj.gov.

Community Energy Plan Implementation (CEPI) Grant Program

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Community Energy Plan Implementation (CEPI) Grant Program will award eligible municipalities with funding up to $250,000. To implement clean energy projects in their respective communities. This program is designed to complement the Community Energy Plan Grant (CEPG) Program and support municipalities in implementing high-priority, high-impact, practical, and cost-effective municipal projects supporting energy resilience, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

Eligible applicants must be a New Jersey municipal government with a completed and adopted community energy plan or equivalent plan. If program funds are remaining after all eligible projects are selected, an applicant may receive funding for one additional project.

The application window for CEPI is now closed. All applications were submitted to community.energy@bpu.nj.gov by 5:00 pm Eastern time on May 24, 2024. For questions regarding this program, please email community.energy@bpu.nj.gov.

For a list of CEPI Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.

Overburdened Municipalities

Overburdened Municipalities are eligible for additional funding and support through the CEPG and CEPI programs. Overburdened Municipalities have been identified based on the below criteria:

1. The municipality has over 50% of its population living in an Overburdened Community (OBC) Census Block as defined by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law, N.J.S.A. 13:1D-157; and

2. The municipality meets one or both of the following criteria (either A or B):

a) Over 35% of the population is living under 200% of the poverty level according to U.S. Census 2021 ACS data; or

b) The municipality has a distress score of 40 or higher according to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) Municipal Revitalization Index (MRI)

Below is an updated list of OBMs:


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