Planet Earth

published : 2023-10-13

Developers Cancel Plans for Natural Gas Plant in New Jersey Amid Backlash

Proposed second CPV plant in Woodbridge faced strong opposition

An aerial view of Woodbridge, New Jersey, showcasing the existing CPV power plant as part of the landscape. Taken with a DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Opponents of a natural gas-fired power plant planned for a polluted low-income area in New Jersey celebrated after the company behind the project announced its cancellation.

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) had intended to build a second plant adjacent to its existing facility in Woodbridge, but market conditions and low energy prices rendered the project infeasible.

CPV's agreement with power transmission organization PJM Interconnection required it to either start construction or terminate the agreement by September 30.

Due to current market conditions, CPV withdrew from the interconnection agreement, citing unprofitable construction costs.

A group of passionate environmental activists gather outside City Hall in Newark, New Jersey, holding signs to protest the proposed natural gas plant. Taken with a Sony A7III camera.

Unlike subsidized projects such as offshore wind and nuclear power, the natural gas plant did not receive state funding, making it economically unviable.

The company will continue to operate its existing plant and explore alternative uses for the proposed site of the canceled project.

Opposition to the plant came from a coalition of local residents, environmental groups, and advocates for social justice, who raised concerns about the health impact on an area already burdened with pollution.

Public hearings revealed that children in the community suffered from chronic breathing issues, potentially exacerbated by the high ground-level ozone pollution in the region.

A young child with a respiratory mask receives medical attention at a local hospital, symbolizing the health concerns raised by the community. Taken with a Canon EOS R5 camera.

Although New Jersey has an environmental justice law in place to protect overburdened communities, it did not apply to the CPV proposal as it was submitted prior to the law's enactment in 2020.

While the cancellation is seen as a victory for clean air and environmental justice, activists call on the governor to take further steps to prevent future fossil fuel expansion projects.