Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In the News: A ray of sunshine in state's renewable energy picture

Located just a stone's throw west of Manhattan lies one of the largest natural ecosystems found in our region - the New Jersey Meadowlands. This great expanse of estuary habitat, once a major dumping ground for the City's trash and then home to large-scale development projects, is currently thriving as a result of increased protection and restoration efforts to conserve its many acres of marsh and adjacent uplands and the many species that inhabit the region. A new plan introduced recently by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will build upon the great successes of the environmental community and attempt to create one of the largest renewable energy networks in the world by 2020. The plan calls for solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy to replace current modes of energy production, and offers potential economic and environmental benefits that will include improved air and water quality states the following article from the Star-Ledger. JB

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
BY Ana M. Alaya Star-Ledger Staff

Plans outline massive solar, wind and tidal network in the Meadowlands

Harnessing energy from the sun, wind and tides, the Meadowlands region could become home to one of the largest renewable energy networks in the world in the coming years, state officials said yesterday.

Plans unveiled yesterday call for a 5-megawatt solar energy system in the next few years, and a 20-megawatt system of alternative energy power by 2020 that could produce electricity for thousands of homes in the Bergen-Hudson county region, said officials of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

The commission's board approved measures yesterday to seek private companies to build the energy systems. At the same time, the agency will try to attract cutting-edge technology companies to the region's obsolete warehouse districts.

"This project will provide enormous environmental and economic benefits for the Meadowlands District, as well as set a precedent for the state's commitment to renewable energy," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner and NJMC Chair Susan Bass Levin. "The Meadowlands District has the infrastructure and recent history of regional cooperation needed to implement this renewable energy initiative."

A commission study done over the past several months concluded that the district can offer much of the 1.3 million square feet of space that a 5-megawatt system would need for silicon solar panels that turn the sun's energy into electricity.

Much of that space may already be available on NJMC properties, including roofs, parking lots, garages and cleaned landfills in the 32-square-mile region, officials said.

The NJMC also will create a Renewable Energy Task Force for the Meadowlands District that will be responsible for developing a master plan for the region over the next year. This renewable energy plan will develop a strategy for the creation of 20 megawatts of renewable energy in the region by 2020. The panel will examine solar, tidal, wind, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy.


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