Renewable energy continues to make giant leaps forward, this time not with vehicles, nor housing, but with theme parks. Six Flags Theme Park has announced it will be building an all new theme park in Jackson, New Jersey. The kicker? Yep, you guessed it. The park will be supplied with over 98% of its power by a 90-acre solar panel farm, which will begin its construction sometime in the next few months. Over 130 acres of trees will be cleared in order to make room for both the panels and the park itself.
The project, which was just recently approved on March 2, is an attempt to build the world’s largest self-powered theme park in the United States. KDC Solar, LLC was announced as the company that will be undertaking the project. According to initial estimates, the park will take an enormous 21.9 megawatts to operate, an amount equivalent to something like 3,100 residential homes. That is why such an extensive amount of land (over 18,000 trees) is being cleared just for the solar farm itself.
But, fear not fellow environmental enthusiasts, Six Flags has also promised to replant over 25,000 trees in 7 years to make up for it. “Six Flags Great Adventure” as the park will be called, will take about a year and a half to construct, and is projected to open around the latter half of 2016. Park President John Fitzgerald was quoted saying, “We are continually searching for new ways to operate more efficiently and enhance our role as good stewards of the environment.”
This is certainly a step forward, and the Park’s construction has people buzzing about what could be possible in the future. Environment New Jersey, a statewide environmental group is very high on the project. Solar power expert David Beavers of Environment New Jersey quoted, “this is going to be the biggest installation in New Jersey, which is going to be a huge step in the right direction.” When asked about the initial forestry clearing, he said, “The destruction of so many trees is a valid concern, Beavers said, because of the critical role forests play in reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change. But parking lot-based solar farms are far more costly to construct because of the steel piers used. Hearing that they are going to be replanting those trees, it definitely sounds like it’s going to a worthwhile initiative.”