The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm

The first coastal wind farm in the United States, the JAWF has been generating clean energy since 2006

A Trip To The (Wind) Farm

On a recent Saturday I made the 2-hour drive to Atlantic City to photograph the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm for my portfolio of renewable energy subjects. I’ve often seen the blades of the 5 turbines spinning gracefully in the distance but had never been up close. This was my chance to at least get a lot closer. There is no pubic access to the bridge that spans the water to the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) Wastewater Treatment Facility where the wind turbines are located so I photographed it from along Absecon Boulevard. This gave the pictures nice landscape compositions typical of my work. There’s also a nicely landscaped and appointed viewing park with an information kiosk located at the facility entrance.

Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm
The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm seen from the Absecon Boulevard Bridge

Producing Sustainable ‘Green’ Energy for the Future

The Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm has been on line and producing green energy since March 2006. It is also the first coastal wind farm in the United States. The wind farm’s primary job is to power the wastewater treatment plant where it is located with the surplus being sold to the power company. In fact, when the wind farm is producing power at its rated capacity it only takes 2 of the 5 turbines to do this job. As such, the turbines produce enough energy across a year to power 2,500 homes. You can learn all the information about the wind farm and all of Atlantic County Utilities Authority’s (ACUA) renewable energy initiatives on their website: http://www.acua.com/; mouse over the menu directly under the ACUA logo, then point to “Green Initiatives” menu item. They really have their program together in providing information to the public on their green energy technology, including the wind farm viewing park and kiosk (more on that below).

New Jersey has big plans in the works for wind power development.

ACUA currently has an impressive array of green initiatives for producing renewable energy which include the wind farm, solar arrays, geothermal energy, and gas to electric generation technologies. Of particular interest is the Landfill Gas to Energy initiative which captures methane escaping from landfills and uses it to produce electricity. The kiosk at the wind farm viewing park also illustrates Green Roof technology which I believe is in use at the ACUA site. This form of renewable energy uses vegetation and landscaping on the rooftops of buildings to minimize water runoff, control the climate within the structure (especially cooling), provide a peaceful respite for people and animals amidst urban areas and help improve air quality by producing oxygen.

Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm
The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm seen from the viewing park on Absecon Boulevard at the ACUA entrance.

New Jersey Plans to be The ‘Houston’ of Wind Energy

Solar energy has been gaining a foothold in the State’s energy portfolio for many years with may municipalities and institutions like schools and colleges building solar parking canopies on their campuses. Solar panels can be seen all over the state on the rooftops of homes and office buildings alike and there are now programs being championed to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (see the ChargEVC website). But in my wind farm research I was surprised to learn that the two wind farms I photographed, in Bayonne (there’s only 1 turbine there) and Atlantic City, are only two of three total in the entire greater New York City/Philadelphia area. There’s also one turbine in Brooklyn but I didn’t visit there. According to the US Wind Turbine Database, the closest one outside of those sites is in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

But New Jersey has big plans in the works for wind power development. It intends to be nothing short of what Houston is to the oil and gas industry. To accomplish this goal it’s building a huge assembly and manufacturing port from which massive off-shore wind turbines will be built and deployed directly into off-shore waters. It plans to do this not only for its own clean energy plans but for supplying several other Eastern Seaboard states as well. To facilitate this grand vision the State is developing a large facility on Artificial Island in Salem County. They’ve set aside some 215 acres for the New Jersey Wind Port site which will include manufacturing and assembly plants along with staging facilities to ready the huge turbines for deployment.

It’s an exciting project and construction is set to begin in 2021.

The Viewing Park and Information Kiosk

There’s a small viewing park at the entrance to the ACUA site that’s nicely appointed and it makes a make a day trip even better. It’s got that beachy kitsch about it with its two scale-size wind turbine monuments on each side of a sheltered informational display, and the whole site (except for the parking lot) is landscaped with crushed white seashells. It’s like a little beach park and looks pretty new so the chain-link fence doesn’t detract from the ocean side aesthetic too much. The information kiosk tells you all about the wind turbines and what they do. It explains the wastewater treatment plant and there’s also a panel explaining “green roof” technology (more on that below). On the other side is another series of panels explaining all the green energy solutions that Atlantic County is developing and using. It’s really quite impressive. There’s even a picnic table to have your lunch while the wind turbines provide a serene backdrop. I highly recommend a visit.

Wind Farm Park Gallery

The display kiosk shows that Atlantic County is a leader in the development and integration of a working and sustainable renewable energy plan for a local power grid. I’ve not seen a similarly comprehensive array of in-place green energy production, at least in the other New Jersey counties where I live and regularly move around.

Over all, the Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm and Atlantic County’s many renewable energy programs provide an impressive example for the rest of the state and others across the country.


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Expand your photographic explorations with the help of my extensive photographic experience. My photo essays are available for download on the Photo Essays page. Get yours today and start making more compelling photos!

Expand your photographic explorations with the help of my extensive photographic experience. My photo essays are available for download on the Photo Essays page. Get yours today and start making more compelling photos!

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