At Holmdel’s Earth Day Festival at Bayonet Farm, there were many people advocating for alternative energy.
Because wind turbines have been in the news lately, Patch wanted to ask people their thoughts were regarding the one planned by the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority for its plant operations in Union Beach.
There has been strong opposition by people in Union Beach and neighboring Hazlet who say the 396-foot tall turbine it is too big and too close to their homes and will cause them health problems and loss in property values. The Holmdel Township Committee recently passed a resolution opposing the construction of the turbine, as has several other towns.
But the BRSA says the turbine will generate energy and help reduce rates for ratepayers in the towns it serves: Union Beach, Holmdel, Keyport, Hazlet, Keansburg, Matawan, Aberdeen, and parts of Marlboro. The BRSA’s current chairman is John Colligas, of Holmdel.
At the festival, Holmdel resident and environmentalist Chris Yonclas discussed the turbine at a raingarden exhibit. Yonclas said he personally liked the idea of the proposed wind turbine in Union Beach.
“The only problem I have with it, from an environmental standpoint, is that the geese are dominant in that area,” said Yonclas. (The geese, or any bird, could wind up flying into the blades of the wind turbine, he explained.)
Yonclas added he would not like to live next to one because of “the whopping sound.” But then again, he said, he’s lived next to the Garden State Parkway for 20 years. “The noise becomes secondary,” he said.
Holmdel resident Jenni Blumenthal, who was giving out flyers on trees, mulch volcanoes and stinkbugs, said she is personally in favor of the wind turbines. Even the one proposed for Union Beach.
According to Blumenthal, if you want something, you have to pay the price. “If you want electricity you have make it somehow. If you want to use a cell phone, you got to put up cell phone towers,” she said. “There is a lot of controversy about it. I might be in the minority around here, but I think it’s a good idea to make use of the wind as a source of power”.
Robert “Bob” Wilson, of Holmdel, the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner in Physics, was the man in the cowboy hat telling people about ways to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. He said that he and his wife, Betsy, first encountered a string of wind turbines during a trip to Holland. “I don't know how much is known about the health effects of constant noise, but it should be considered,” said Wilson, who wrote an email to Patch, the next day. "As for wind turbines being placed near residences, one would have to know the expected noise from the proposed turbine. I would hope that the noise would be minimal inside houses."
Elise Donovan of Holmdel said she would like to know more about the controversy, because in the end, something needs to be done about the cost of electricity, she said.
“I know there’s just a lot of controversy surrounding the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority, so I’m not sure if people are unhappy with the Authority, and therefore they aren’t to say ‘Go forward with another project.' It’s complicated.”
But she added, “We need to find more clean sources of energy. Our electric bills are getting higher and higher.” Last month, Donovan said her electric bill was $500.