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Walmart Goes Green With Solar, Wind

The Lacey Planning Board approved an application to install solar panels on the roof of the Lanoka Harbor Walmart

Walmart has confirmed that the company is pursuing a solar energy project at the Lanoka Harbor location in addition to its plan to install wind turbines in the parking lot as part of its renewable energy initiative.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Lacey Planning Board gave Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC the approval to install a ground level inverter with a cement pad in the back of Walmart that would be used to power solar panels on the roof.

The Lanoka Harbor Walmart and three others will be the first in the state to have solar panels installed, Walmart's Sustainability Communications Director Brooke Buchanan said. Nationwide, including Puerto Rico, there are 86 solar projects commissioned, 2 microwind, 24 fuel cells, and an additional 114 solar projects under construction, in design and/or permitting.

Greenskies reported that the solar project would account for 70 percent of Walmart’s energy. Buchanan said the solar projects generally produce 20 to 30 percent of Walmart's energy.

The system is 450 kWh and is comparable to powering 55 to 60 homes with electricity, Greenskies representative Mike Silvestrini said.

Buchanan could not say how many solar panels would be installed but said the available space on the roof would be maximized.

The site plans show the entire roof covered with solar panels, Mayor Gary Quinn said.

In September, Director of Sustainability Communications Kory Lundberg said Walmart had not sought to install solar panels on the rooftops of stores in New Jersey because of weather conditions. If there is a snowstorm, the accumulation creates a weight issue. Stores with solar panels are typically located in places like California, Arizona and Hawaii.

“The panels and installation method were specifically chosen to address the likelihood of snow loads; licensed structural engineers are involved on all of our solar projects,” Buchanan said.

Walmart is also in contract with OmniWind Energy Systems, whose application is currently before the township's zoning board. with new poles and foundations at the existing site of lighting poles at Walmart. The existing light fixtures would be reinstalled at the same height.

Each turbine will put out more than 4,000 kWh per year, which will make up less than 1 percent of Walmart’s energy, said Carl Douglas, president and co-founder of OmniWind. Power will not be put back into the grid.

“We have had positive feedback from our customers regarding our commitment to renewable energy,” Buchanan said when asked why Walmart would continue to pursue the wind turbine project.

Jack Nosti of Forked River has some reservations regarding the wind turbines and said solar should be enough.

“They could cover that whole roof with solar panels and get all the green energy that they need without interfering or disrupting our community in a densely populated area with wind turbines,” he said.

Regina Discenza of Forked River said she is irate over the issue.

“I sure as heck don’t want to see wind turbines up and down Route 9 and I’m telling you it looks like that Board of Adjustment is about to cave in,” she said. “It sounds like the construction to put them up is not worth what they’re going to give back in electricity. I’m all for green power but it has to be appropriate and this is not an appropriate place for it.”

OmniWind will next be in front of the zoning board on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

Bill Heller October 14, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Ocean Gate’s wind turbine has failed to produce enough electricity to justify expenses, plus other small NJ turbines have been prone to accidents. One lost a blade that almost hit a young girl. A parking lot is no place for wind turbines! Before they allow them at Walmart they need to read these articles: 1) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/09/30/ontario-wind-power-property-values.html 2) http://www.ens.dk/en-us/supply/renewable-energy/windpower/onshore-wind-power/loss-of-value-to-real-property/sider/forside.aspx Wind turbines are not the Great Green Solution as developers claim. In fact, INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES DON’T PROVIDE RENEWABLE ENERGY! Not one coal or gas plant the world over has been decommissioned because of IWTs...and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels is their raison d’etre. To quote an expert: “Because wind blows intermittently, electric utilities must either keep their conventional power plants running all the time to make sure the lights don’t go dark, or continually ramp up and down the output from conventional coal-or gas-fired generators (called “cycling”). But coal and gas generators are designed to run continuously, and if they don’t, fuel consumption and emissions generally increase.” 1) http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_15081808 2) http://www.forbes.com/2011/07/19/wind-energy-carbon.html 3) http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/6310/Britains-Wind-Farms-are-No-Spin-Zones-When-Cold-Hits
Milton R. October 14, 2011 at 06:52 PM
There are still only a handful of wind turbines in New Jersey. And the fact that the blades flew off of two of them (one almost hitting a little girl) and one caught on fire – all in the first four months of this year – says it all. WHAT PART OF WIND TURBINES DO NOT BELONG ONSHORE CLOSE TO HOMES, ESPECIALLY IN PARKING LOTS, DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND? http://www.app.com/article/20110423/NJNEWS/104230305/Wind-turbine-failures-Lacey-put-state-energy-program-hold?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage Knoeller's 17-year-old granddaughter, Sarah, was working with horses near the tower when the blades flew off. "One of them nearly hit her..." http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/11/0324/2356/ State Shuts Down Onshore Wind Turbine Program after Major Malfunction. All three blades break free of newly installed turbine in what is labeled an "abnormal occurrence." And now here's a link to 10 pages of abnormal occurrences: http://noturbine.com/images/Turbine%20Fires%20and%20Collapse.pdf
Bill Heller October 14, 2011 at 08:33 PM
NIMBY means Next It Might Be You. As for Not In My Backyard, homeowners should have a right to determine that. These wind turbines will do nothing to save energy when you factor in the costs involved, and they do nothing for the environment. In fact they hurt it, and as I mentioned before, they pose a risk to folks in the parking lot and nearby. They are not green, in fact the pollution generated to build them...starting at the smelters in China to make the magnets...makes them a negative as far as the environment goes. We need real solutions, not ones marketed by cronies of the government.

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