Kids learn about wind energy, build first model wind turbines in U.S. waters | Local News

ATLANTIC CITY — For most kids, the perfect summer day may include building sandcastles on the beach or splashing around in the water, but for some, like Britney Gilhernandez, who is interested in technology, Wednesday was a good day to learn about wind turbines and energy.

“I found it interesting how windmills are able to power energy, so I wanted to see other ways windmills can be used,” said Gilhernandez, 11, who took part in a workshop on the Boardwalk sponsored in part by Offshore Wind 4 Kids.

Offshore Wind 4 Kids, an organization that teaches children about engineering and technology via offshore wind, and Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, one of the main companies contracted to build and maintain New Jersey’s largest offshore wind turbine project, partnered on the workshop, the first for the company’s Educational Community Outreach center.

Gilhernandez was one of 30 to 40 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City and Egg Harbor Township’s Police Activities League who spent the day learning from industry professionals about engineering, renewable energy and how to work together to build their own model offshore wind turbines. The children ranged in age from 8 to 15 years old.

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Gilhernandez, who is interested in having a career in tech when she’s older, said she learned about different types of wind turbines and how they are built, as well as where the offshore wind turbines are being built, which she found the most interesting.

Being on the beach with the model wind turbine and playing with Lego windmills was also a plus.


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“My brother is into technology, so he might be jealous,” said Gilhernandez, the youngest of her two sisters and one brother.

Atlantic Shores’ Community and Industry Engagement’s Satsuki Sokol, along with Offshore Wind 4 Kids Director William Beuckelaers, kicked off the workshop with background about offshore energy, the major components of windmills and the benefits of renewable energy.

“It’s about being a good neighbor,” said Sokol, who noted Atlantic Shores’ commitment to the community by giving city kids the opportunity to learn about the wind industry, while being transparent about their goals. “There are other work options in Atlantic City other than working in the casinos. We’re committed to getting kids excited about science and technology, so they understand it and can embrace it. “

In a joint venture between Shell New Energies US and EDF Renewable North America that started in 2018, the Atlantic Shores Leasing Area was approved after a two-year federal review process for a wind project 10 to 20 miles off the coast between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light. The project will span 185,000 acres. When it is finished, it will provide enough energy to power nearly 1.5 million homes, starting in 2027.

Jennifer Daniels, development director for Atlantic Shores, said the project will ensure her organization is “here for a long time” and will benefit the area.

“Projects like this benefit everyone, so we want to make sure Atlantic City gets the benefits of jobs and economic development,” said Daniels, who said the industry will provide opportunities in engineering, administration, communication, safety and manufacturing.


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Juan Carlos Puente, chief financial officer of Atlantic Shores, said the company was committed to spending $850 million in the state, developing supply chains and creating manufacturing plants and jobs.

“It’s very important to us as a company to explain what building a wind farm entails. Events like this help kids think about future careers and what building a wind farm requires,” Puente said.

Mahki Rowe, 12, said he had never built a wind turbine before, but learning about it was fun.

“I like building stuff, and my dad is a construction worker, so when I grow up, I want to be like him,” Rowe said.

Building the wind turbine with his friends was Rowe’s favorite part of the day and inspired him to be a “technical builder” when he grows up.

Atlantic Shores said this was the first of many workshops it will host at its Education and Community Outreach (ECO) Center, which is located at the Stockton University Atlantic City Residential Complex.

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