Atlantic City Electric is committed to powering a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities. As part of this commitment, we provide more than $1 million annually to organizations and efforts across southern New Jersey. Our Sustainable Communities Grant Program provides $75,000 in grants annually to fund open space, environmental and resiliency projects across our service area.
The program provides $50,000 in grants, up to $5,000 each, to municipalities for projects focusing on open space preservation, improvements to parks and recreation resources, and environmental conservation. Examples of eligible projects include developing recreation trails, purchasing open space or planting trees and other vegetation.
The program also provides up to three grants totaling $25,000 to support innovative approaches to providing a safe and reliable community resource during an emergency. These grants will support a range of community resiliency efforts that help prepare a community for the impacts of more severe weather. Eligible activities include: Implementing strategies to minimize the impact of severe weather events, natural disasters or other environmental emergency, emergency operations planning, training and community outreach, or purchasing supplies and equipment needed to respond to emergencies including energy storage and stationary or mobile solar.
Atlantic City Electric has partnered with Sustainable Jersey to facilitate this grant program. Sustainable Jersey provides tools, training, and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs. Currently, 81 percent or 455 of New Jersey's 565 municipalities are participating in the municipal certification program and 350 school districts and 948 schools are participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program.
Municipalities are encouraged to apply for these competitive grants. To apply, complete the simple application on Sustainable Jersey's website at Municipalities can learn more about, and apply for, the Sustainable Communities Grant Program by visiting http://bit.ly/2021ACEGrants.
Atlantic City Electric provides 1,000 free trees to residential customers through the Arbor Day Foundation's Energy-Saving Trees program. This initiative helps customers conserve energy and reduce household energy use through strategic tree planting to ensure that customers are planting the right trees in the most strategic location. By utilizing an online tool: customers can map their houses, select a tree with energy-saving potential, learn the best energy-saving and safe locations to plant, and receive an estimate of the annual savings that may result when the tree grows.
Atlantic City Electric partnered with The Nature Conservancy and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to construct a 3,000-ft living breakwater comprised of mesh bags of recycled oyster shell and concrete oyster castle blocks at The Conservancy's Gandy's Beach Preserve in Cumberland County, NJ. The goal is to reduce erosion of the neighboring marsh, which protects key infrastructure for the town of Gandy's Beach, while creating a self-sustaining oyster reef. The project has been successful in collecting sediment, reducing wave energy by an average of 40%, and in forming an oyster reef for fish and other marine life.