Today's focus, however, is on harnessing the strength of nature for our current and future energy needs. Driving around northern New Jersey, there seems to be a growing trend toward creating fields of solar panels. One of our favorite places to take our kids is the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. In the shadows of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, this museum is converting its open parking lot into a semi-covered area for 250+ cars. According to its website, the solar panels will generate nearly 700,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year and, for good measure, will allow electric cars to recharge. The museum is not the only place going this route. In northern New Jersey, one can also find a public skating arena, a community college, and various office parks doing the same thing.
Perhaps it has been the high gas prices and energy bills in recent years, but it seems that there is a push to incorporate solar energy into more and more facilities. And it is not just solar power making inroads in our largest metropolitan area. A few miles down the road from the Science Center, there is now a gigantic windmill near the Bayonne, New Jersey waterfront. Are these panels and the windmill eyesores or a smart use of our natural resources? I will leave that for others to judge. In the meantime, however, it would appear that our urban and suburban landscapes are changing.