|In June 2006 New Jersey created the "Biofuels Action Group" comprised of representatives from different State Departments and Agencies. The goal of the Action Group is to make a cooperative effort to create the most favorable environment for biofuels projects to thrive in New Jersey. This group consists of representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission, Rutgers University, and the Governor’s Office. Together, the Biofuels Action Group has identified numerous viable alternative energy proposals from companies interested in locating in New Jersey. This includes ethanol production from various feedstocks and technologies, biodiesel from various feedstocks and technologies, biogas, and P-fuels. Biofuels Action Group meetings are held bi-monthly to discuss ways NJ can collectively provide information and incentives to make these proposed projects a reality.
The major issues discussed by the Biofuels Action Group have been:
-identifying the best available sites for locating biofuels facilities;
-examining the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's permitting process with an eye toward creating the most streamlined path for biofuel companies to obtain the necessary permits;
-clarifying the possibility of "co-location," in which multiple biofuels producers would locate on the same or nearby properties and benefit from each other's by-products;
-identifying sources to help biofuels companies obtain the necessary funding for their projects;
-identifying incentives the State can offer to spur biofuels production;
-examining the role that can be played by the State Economic Development Authority and the various County Improvement Authorities in helping companies secure financing for biofuels projects; and
-delineating the role of the biofuels industry in the Board of Public Utility's overall State Master Energy Plan.
In the fall of 2006, the Board of Public Utilities retained the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station to evaluate the bio-energy potential in New Jersey. In February of 2007, the Agricultural Experiment Station issued to the Board of Public Utilities their first draft report titled "The Assessment of Biomass Energy Potential in New Jersey." This report contained four major deliverables that will result in the establishment of an outstanding capacity to further develop the bio-energy potential for New Jersey:
-Assessment of the characteristics and quantity of New Jersey's biomass resources
-Assessment of technologies that are capable of producing bio-energy in the form of electric power, transportation fuels, and or thermal energy from New Jersey's biomass resources
-Development of the first statewide mapping of waste/biomass resources
-Development of policy recommendations for moving New Jersey into the forefront of bio-energy innovation
In May 2007, the company, Fuel:Bio, opened the Northeast's largest biodiesel production plant and New Jersey's first biofuel plant in Elizabeth, Union County on the site of a defunct chemical plant. The Fuel:Bio plant makes their biodiesel from soybean oil and has a capacity of producing 60 million gallons per year. This plant is the first in what will hopefully become a successful biofuel industry in New Jersey.