A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
Updated: 11/08/2013 04:39:31 PM EST
An open-pit, privately owned ammonia plant will serve the local market for 25 years, eventually turning it from a niche product into a major player in the national economy, New Jersey’s governor announced Thursday.
Ammonia, a fertilizer chemical with more than 100 uses, is the cheapest form of natural gas. With a low price, it can be used to generate electricity, which is becoming a larger piece of the national energy mix under an administration committed to renewable energy and carbon-free energy.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our state,” Republican Gov. Chris Christie said at a news conference in Montville.
Ammonia costs $16 per ton, which would pay for itself, he said.
The deal does not guarantee the profitability of the project, which is the first of its kind, the governor said.
The price tag does not include the cost of building and operating the factory, which could range from about $4.6 billion to $7 billion over 25 years, Christie said.
A $4.6 billion plant, with 15,000 people on board, would provide clean, renewable energy to New Jersey and beyond, he said.
“The world is a better place because of the ammonia plant in Paterson, which will make the fuel of the future, not the fuel of the past,” he said.
Christie has pledged to create a national platform for clean energy. And though he has expressed public skepticism about the cost of building clean energy projects, he has also said he wants to invest in them.
During an interview Wednesday with The Record, he said, “I am not a believer in government guarantees. I would not encourage anybody else to do it. What I will do is invest in it, as a buyer.”
The plant would be the largest in the country, Christie said.
The plant is expected to be started in 2025, and the company that operates the operation could sell the plant to someone else later in its life, the governor said.
A spokeswoman for the Energy Policy Institute, a New York-based nonprofit policy think tank, said the governor’s comments reflect his “