I feel the energy.
Every member of the New Jersey National Guard should be proud to belong to an organization that has become a national leader in the production of alternative energy.
That's right. The New Jersey National Guard is 'going green.' The Department of Defense has lauded our organization for its energy production and conservation efforts because we're saving taxpayers millions of dollars – and working to further a national defense goal of taking military installations off the power grid wherever possible.
You don't have to go far to see this in action in New Jersey.
On your next trip to the National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt, take a look at the array of solar panels over the parking lot near the headquarters building. Those photovoltaic panels generate 240,000 kilowatts of electricity a year, nearly enough to power the headquarters building year round.
That that's just the start at Sea Girt. By the end of next year, we expect to have a second array of panels that will boost production there to nearly 750,000 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power 70 homes for a year.
Here's what that kind of power production will do for the environment: eliminate enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over a decade as a grove of 13,000 trees. Or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that 103 cars send into the atmosphere in a year.
But the most exciting project at Sea Girt may be yet to come. Funding has been approved to construct a 320- foot wind turbine there -- a project that along with the solar panels there would produce enough electricity to power the entire Training Center complex. Work will start if we obtain environmental approvals.
Sea Girt is far from the only place we are going green. You will find solar panel arrays on the roof at our Joint Training and Training Development Center and at the Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Lawrenceville. Combined, the two projects save taxpayers nearly $100,000 in utility costs each year.
And anyone who has visited the Joint Forces Headquarters Building at Fort Dix has seen the impressive array of solar panels that has taken shape over the parking area over the last few months. When those panels come on line, they will produce enough to power Building 3650.
The New Jersey National Guard's embrace of solar energy has led Guard officials from more than a dozen other states to ask for our advice on how they can start or improve their own alternative energy programs.
New Jersey's status as an innovator within the DoD has given us the opportunity to become one of the first states to take possession of a fleet of more than 70 all-electric vehicles. The vehicles will ultimately be positioned at all of our major installations and will be perfect for local deliveries and maintenance crews.
All of these things add up to the fact that we are all part of an organization that is protecting both the environment and the taxpayers' wallet while maintaining our focus on our Number One job: protecting our homeland and being ready to answer the call to defend freedom anywhere on the globe.