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Matt Kaiser

Six Flags Great Adventure to Become World’s First Solar-Powered Theme Park

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A settlement was reached, construction should begin soon.  I wonder if Six Flags America might try this next, they own a lot of empty land that has already been cleared of trees just west of the parking lot.

 

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/six_flags_cuts_down_solar_farm_di_ionno.html

 

Quote

Six Flags cuts down solar farm | Di Ionno

Updated 7:46 AM; Posted 7:45 AM
 

By Mark Di Ionno mdiionno@starledger.com,

Columnist, The Star-Ledger

With screams from the Kingda Ka and El Toro rollercoasters less than a mile way, rare New Jersey species like the box turtle and slimy salamander will be able to enjoy the serenity of their natural habitat, thanks to an agreement between Six Flags Great Adventure and several environmental groups.

 

Yes, the neon bustle and human din of the state's biggest amusement park will peacefully co-exist with the hush of nightfall and the gentle song of the yellow pine warbler in New Jersey's largest protected swath of land - the Pinelands National Reserve.

 

The tentative agreement between Six Flags Great Adventure and several New Jersey environmental groups has been reached in the long battle over the amusement park's plan to cut 92-acres of pinelands forest to make way for a solar panel farm.

 

According to several sources, Six Flags has agreed to reducing the deforesting area from 92-acres to 40 acres. The remaining 52-acres will be put into a 213-acre parcel of forested land Six Flags will deed into land conservancy.

 

That 213-acre forest will be contiguous with the state's 12,000-acre Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area and the 200-acre Francis Mills Conservation Area at the northwest section  of Jackson Township.

 

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, confirmed the tentative settlement, reached last Thursday. 

 

The Sierra Club was among several environmental groups that filed a lawsuit in 2015 after Jackson Township passed an ordinance that would allow Six Flags to clear-cut 92 acres of  pinelands habitat to build a 21-megawatt solar farm. Six Flags said the giant solar field would not only provide all electrical power to the amusement park but return power to the area grid.

 

The other groups included the suit were the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Save Barnegat Bay, Clean Water Action, and the Crosswicks-Doctor Creek Watershed Association.

With the reduced solar field, Tittel said, Six Flags would still be wholly powered by the sun, making it the first amusement park in the country to do so.

 

Through an email Six Flags spokesperson Kristen Fitzgerald said she was "reaching out to lawyers" for a response before press time.

 

Several sources said the environmental plaintiffs and amusement company were working on a joint press release as part of the settlement. It should be officially announced this week. The Star-Ledger confirmed the settlement through multiple sources who did not want to be named.

 

Tittel said the Sierra Club had withdrawn from the settlement announcement for "technical reasons," which included Six Flags'  desire to release a joint statement.

"We just don't do that," he said, but added he was certain of the gist of the details. 

 

One source, who asked not to be identified, called the settlement "a win for the environment."

 

"You have to give them (Six Flags) credit," the source said. "They could have dragged it out in litigation, but I think they wanted to come up with a fair solution."

 

The environmental groups lost a round in court last June, when Ocean County Assignment Judge Marlene Lynch Ford upheld the Jackson Township ordinance to allow the solar farm, which was proposed by Six Flags and KDC Solar LLC. The case would have been tried in the appellate division in the coming months.

 

Several sources described the settlement as a "win-win" for both sides.

 

"They (Six Flags) needed to start construction and get the tax credits for the solar farm," Tittle said. "We got the additional conserved acres and protection of the streams."

 

The conserved land is near the Crosswicks-Doctors Creek watershed and several small tributaries of the Toms River.

 

At the time of the Ocean County ruling in Six Flags' favor, Fitzgerald sent out a press release saying, "Six Flags has been, and will remain, a good custodian of the environment."

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She also said the solar farm was "a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon theme park."

 

As part of the reported settlement, the 40-acre solar field will be returned to natural forest and added to the 213 protected acres if the park ever abandons the solar project.

 

"This is no small thing," said one source. "That's basically 253 acres that will be returned to pinelands habitat no matter what happens."

 

The source said the acreage is rich with wildlife, including reptiles and amphibians, including the endangered box turtle, the rough green snake and "Ocean County's only sighting of the slimy salamander."

 

Six Flags has also agreed to help build several snake habitat areas on the conserved land.

 

"They are preserving five times as much forest as they are cutting," said the source. "Under the Jackson Township ordinance, they weren't required to do anything."

 

The Six Flags parcel is literarily across the street from the Collier Mills area, which is the Pinelands National Reserve, fostered by the late Gov. Brendan Byrne, in 1978. At that time, local officials held out the area where Six Flags would be built, knowing the amusement park was coming.

 

"Otherwise, this land would have been protected," Tittel said. "It has exactly the same characteristics as the rest of the Pine Barrens."

 

Edited by Medusa42

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Excellent news. Glad to finally see them get a plan that causes minimal tree removal 

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Quote

 

Six Flags Great Adventure to Become

World’s First Solar-Powered Theme Park

 

World’s Ultimate Thrill Park Takes Giant Leap Toward

Reducing Its Carbon Footprint While Adding Jobs

JACKSON, NJ – January 24, 2018  Six Flags Great Adventure and its partner KDC Solar today announced that construction will begin soon to make the New Jersey property the world’s first solar-powered theme park. 

 

“This is a proud day for our company. This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon facility,” said Six Flags Great Adventure Park President John Winkler. “We are pleased that we were able to come to a satisfactory agreement with all parties involved. Clean energy is right for the environment and our future, and we look forward to decades of environmental stewardship with our partner, KDC Solar.”

 

The 23.5-megawatt solar project will include solar carports over select parking lots and 40 acres of ground-mounted solar panels. Six Flags expects construction to begin by March and for the solar facility to be fully operational by the end of 2019.

 

In addition to the production of clean energy and helping to limit the park’s reliance on harmful fossil fuels, KDC Solar will use more than 99,000 hours of union labor in constructing this project.

As conservationists for nearly 45 years, Six Flags Great Adventure has cared for more than 70 different species of animals, including some that are endangered and even extinct in the wild. The Jackson theme park recycles more than 60 percent of its annual waste, including manure, paper, plastic, wood and mixed garbage. The theme park eliminated the use of paper towels in favor of energy-efficient hand dryers, and is firmly committed to other energy-saving programs. In addition, Six Flags will preserve more than 200 acres of forest, wetlands and wetlands transition areas.

 

“We are continually searching for new ways to operate more efficiently and enhance our role as good stewards of the environment,” Winkler said.

 

“We are pleased to move forward with this groundbreaking solar project. Six Flags has been a patient and cooperative partner throughout this process, and we look forward to delivering clean renewable electricity to Six Flags. Once operational, this project will be the largest net metered solar project in the State of New Jersey and very much in line with Governor Murphy’s pledge to support renewable energy,” said Alan Epstein, President and CEO of KDC Solar.

 

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.3 billion in revenue and 20 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 56 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com

 

KDC Solar LLC

KDC Solar supplies commercial, industrials and governments with significantly lower long-term electric costs through solar power. KDC Solar is supported by an allocation of $225 million in equity from Diamond Castle Holdings, a New York-based private equity fund with more than $1.8 billion of committed capital under management. KDC Solar is committed to using clean solar energy to provide economic stimulus and jobs. It currently owns and operates more than 76 megawatts of solar facilities at 15 different locations and is constructing and permitting 42 megawatts of solar projects at businesses and institutions throughout New Jersey. For more information, visit www.kdcsolar.com.

 

 

 

 

Source:  Six Flags Great Adventure

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Start in March and complete by the end of 2019??  I've seen solar farms, including ones over parking lots, be built in 6 months or less. I'm still confused on why the Pinelands Commission was not the lead approval agency on this project instead of Jackson, and why the other environmental groups had to get involved with a lawsuit.  I've managed several infrastructure projects that required Pinelands approvals, and they have some of the toughest regulations of any agency.

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2 hours ago, Coaster Justin said:

Will the solar panels go above the parking lot or be built into the parking lot?

 

you mean take up parking lot space?

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I think Justin is referring to the pavement being solar panels, which is definitely not the case. :P

 

Also, it is not mentioned which parking lots are getting solar panels (or "carports" as the release calls them). The latest release just says "select parking lots". However, do remember that one of the previous updates to Great Adventure's plan included solar panels over the employee lot, so it's most likely that and a little more somewhere else.

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Hurricane Harbor's lot seems like a good candidate for the solar panels.  That lot is much more manageable when it comes to traffic flow.

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Maybe the overflow lot next to the pick up / drop off lot too? It seems like that lot is always empty except on the most crowded days of the year.

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12 hours ago, 29yrswithaGApass said:

Hurricane Harbor's lot seems like a good candidate for the solar panels.  That lot is much more manageable when it comes to traffic flow.

It would also be a welcome respite after getting sunburned as hell lying in the lazy river.

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2 hours ago, dougdrummer said:

Why not add panels to the roof of the many large maintenance/storage-type buildings they own?

 

They're really not large in comparison to the total size of the project. My guess is that it's more hassle than it's worth in terms of planning, construction, and maintenance to build out that small of a separate field array.

http://www.greatadventurehistory.com/Forums/index.php?/topic/4383-six-flags-great-adventure-to-become-world’s-first-solar-powered-theme-park/&do=findComment&comment=67789

Edited by Matt Kaiser

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Yeah, depending how they're oriented, how many panels they can get in what configuration, etc. etc. etc., it may not be cost effective.  Much cheaper and easier to just put up a solar farm and panels over the parking lot.  

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I wonder how many of the supports for the panels in the parking lots will get hit or damaged by some yahoo  My daughter started attending Stockton University in 2012, and they built solar panels over many of the dorm parking lots soon after.  During the time she was there, I didn't see any evidence of damage.  However, at GA they'll be dealing with people that don't live there, aren't familiar with the supports, and a significantly higher number of patrons that are virtually different every day.  It should be interesting.

 

I assume they won't build panels in the RV or bus parking areas, due to vehicle heights.

 

I'm thinking the preferred parking lot would be a good candidate.  They can say the upgrade gets you shade also.

Edited by dougdrummer

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The new plan will be reviewed on March 5th.

http://www.jacksontwpnj.net/documents/agendas/planning/2018/02-05-18.pdf

 

FUTURE PLANNING BOARD MEETINGS

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MARCH 5, 2018

Blocks: 3201; 3101 – Lots: 15, 30 & P/O 11 – KDC/Six Flags Location: Reed Road, Perrineville Road & Six Flags Blvd. Amended S/P (court remand)

Engineer: Maser Consulting, PA

Attorney: Raymond Shea, Esq.

Hearing Status: Initial Testimony

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I can't imagine they'll have much of an issue if they're actually clawing back plans that were already approved (unless I'm mistaken and they didn't have ZBA approval for the bigger solar field).

 

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I'd be surprised if the solar panels over the parking lot are in the area of the lot where the season pass entry used to be, all the way away from the entrance because it would be less likely for patrons to damage the poles

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On ‎2‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 11:43 AM, Louisatsweetlou said:

I'd be surprised if the solar panels over the parking lot are in the area of the lot where the season pass entry used to be, all the way away from the entrance because it would be less likely for patrons to damage the poles

 

New poles for gum?

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4 hours ago, dougdrummer said:

 

what is it with people, gum and amusement park??

It's not just amusement parks.  The airports in Hawaii do not sell gum anymore because they were tired of cleaning up after people.  You can buy gum at stores on the islands, but not at the airports.

 

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