Throughout 2023, New Jersey was dealing with an increase of dead whales and dolphins washing up along our shorelines. And from the northern shoreline to the south, we certainly took notice.

Also at the time, work was on the move just off our coast to make large-scale wind power a reality for New Jersey (those original plans, however, have since changed).

Although a direct link hasn't been established between dolphins and whales dying as a result of construction, it's been enough to make people take a closer look at the possible correlation between the two. Was the construction negatively affecting New Jersey's marine life?

But aside from that, it's become evident how expensive offshore wind projects might be. It's no wonder that opposition has grown toward moving forward with it.

Burbo Bank Wind Farm Now Fully Operational

An alternate solution?

So how can New Jersey move forward without wind power offshore? One possible solution could be to bring it on land.

Now to be clear, this isn't something that's currently in the works, but rather, just an idea. It also wouldn't yield the same amount of wind turbines across a given area the same way offshore wind farms could.

With that said, how might that work? Here's a potential idea as to how it could be done here in New Jersey (And feel free to share your thoughts in the comments).

Look for the Supermoon this weekend June 22-23
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Less complex & less money

Bringing wind turbines to land would certainly be a lot less complex as opposed to trying to build them offshore.

Instead of having to get the ocean floor prepared to support such a wind farm, we would simply place the wind turbines in areas on land where it makes sense. That would also save a lot of money on construction trying to get this done.

And would save money from having to run long cables along the ocean floor and back to the mainland.

Brick solar panels
Environmental Protection Agency

Sharing clean energy space

So where could these wind turbines end up on land? Why not put them with solar panels?

Solar panel fields on the ground already exist throughout the Garden State. So it's only natural to utilize that same land space to erect a wind farm as well.

The wind turbines wouldn't block the sun much at all from reaching the solar panels, so no disruption should happen there. All this would do is allow for more green energy to be produced within the same area using both wind and sun.

Henglein and Steets, Getty Images
Henglein and Steets, Getty Images

Include native landscaping

If you really wanted to be green, why not include landscaping between the panels and wind turbines? Nothing tall enough to obstruct the solar panels, but big enough to help provide a little shade on the ground.

Shorter shrubs, trees, and flowers could all work and would also help beautify the space. Not to mention, provide homes to some of our insects and animals.

A little bit of native landscaping would certainly go a long way. Plus it makes sense to allow flowers and bushes to grow at a green power-producing site.

Blue Planet Studio GettyImages
Blue Planet Studio GettyImages

Could it work?

Combining solar panel farms with wind farms on the mainland of New Jersey. It's an interesting idea for sure that has worked in other areas of the country.

The space is already being used by large panels, so why not add some wind turbines to the mix? Then add a splash of native landscaping and you have yourself a complete green-producing power field.

Not to mention the cheaper costs associated with staying on land. As we've now seen, the cost associated with offshore wind farms has proven to be very expensive.

Windfarm projects proposed for NJ coast — and what they might look like

These are the wind energy projects approved for and planned for the ocean off the coasts of New Jersey and New York. While the projects have the support of officials who say they will stimulate the local economy and create renewable energy to power millions of homes, many coastal residents have raised concerns about how the projects will impact tourism and the environment.

The gallery includes competing photosimulations — those on file with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and those recently commissioned by a group opposed to the wind farm development.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

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Gallery Credit: Sophia Laico

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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