Library filed under Impact on People from New Jersey
Construction of a 1.5-megawatt industrial wind turbine in Union Beach will be erected by January 2011, pending two new bird and bat impact studies, officials from the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA) said last week. ...More than 40 residents of Union Beach and Hazlet urged BRSA commissioners to reevaluate the public health risks for its proposed 1.5-megawatt project at the meeting.
The borough's wind turbine has become a lightning rod. First praised as innovative, the turbine has since been criticized by several residents for its noise pollution. Now, those residents are still debating the turbine's value as Ocean County Health Department officials investigate noise complaints.
Last November I drove across the country, mostly along back roads. In the middle of Iowa, I came upon a fascinating spectacle. Giant windmills filled the fields in every direction. I watched them turn slowly in the breeze. They looked like an army of giant robots marching across the middle of nowhere. And that's exactly where they belong. Stick one of these things in crowded New Jersey and it's a different story. I learned that the other day when I witnessed a windmill in Ocean Gate, a pleasant little community at the mouth of the mighty Toms River.
Three months ago, Ocean Gate was abuzz with excitement as it prepared to celebrate a windmill, which local officials said would lower the electric bills at the municipal building. But shortly after the switch was turned on, problems began. Residents living on three sides of the turbine began to complain about the noise - a constant metallic drone - as well as light reflecting off the rotors. With the prospect of another 50-kilowatt windmill being built in the next year, the complaints have gotten louder.
Bayshore environmental group the Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance (HAQLA) is opposing a proposal that would place a 380-foot-tall windmill near a residential area along the coastline. HAQLA President John M. Curran III has written to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Monmouth County Freeholders in opposition to the wind turbine project proposed for Union Beach ...Curran calls for a countywide moratorium on wind towers/turbines "until the county and towns establish effective, controlling ordinances and regulations" governing renewable energy projects.
The board voted 8-2 today, after two hours of public comment, in favor of Public Service Electric & Gas Co.'s proposed 45-mile, $750 million high-voltage power line project that opponents testified would ravage the land -- hurting flora and fauna -- and damage the region's natural beauty.
Ocean County could lose nearly $400 million in tourism revenues if a pilot project with wind turbines is placed 3 nautical miles off its coast, a new state-funded study says. But a wind farm farther offshore would have a much lower impact and would have a minimal economic impact overall if it were built off Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May counties. It could have a positive effect in some cases, according to the study by Global Insight, hired by the now-defunct New Jersey Commerce Commission. A project with dozens of wind turbines could be operating from 3 to 20 nautical miles off the coastline, from Seaside Park to Stone Harbor, in 2012. But most current proposals are for wind farms 8 to 18 miles off Atlantic or Cape May counties.
In November, municipal officials tabled the introduction of a windmill-related ordinance after a member of the Sourland Mountain Planning Council voiced concerns about the impact of the windmills on some endangered species and plants in the region. While Steve Bales, also a township resident, is a proponent of renewable energy, he asked Township Committee members to amend the language of the ordinance to reflect better ways to preserve the Sourland Mountain region. Council members did just that and introduced a new version of the ordinance Tuesday. The measure is up for public review and a possible vote Dec. 26. ..."I do have a concern over the setback," said Laura Burshnic, a township resident. "I think 180 feet is just a little too close. I wouldn't want to look out my window and see that. It would be an eyesore." The Township Committee then changed the ordinance to reflect a windmill having a 250-foot setback from property lines, easements or utility lines.
Environmentalists are divided over whether "wind farms" are an Earth-friendly source of power. Timothy P. Dillingham, director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Littoral Society, is a member of the blue-ribbon panel that studied the issue. He and his organization oppose the idea..."We are talking about building an industrial facility out in the ocean," he said. "There is no framework, no set of regulations to ensure public protection. People think there is money to be made. People think there is some answer to global warming here. Caution is being thrown to the wind, so to speak."