Brant Rock neighbors are gearing up in opposition to a potential 260-foot wind turbine next to the wastewater treatment plant.
One of those neighbors, Mike Squillante, has created “artist’s conceptions” of how the wind turbine might appear in relation to the submarine tower and his home on Ocean Street, as well as the rest of the neighborhood. Squillante said the wind turbine would be four times taller than the submarine tower and would be clearly seen over the rooftops from the second floor of his house.
“It’s an insane idea,” he said. “I’m hoping they’ll change their minds.”
A wind turbine generator committee has been established to investigate the costs and benefits of wind power in Marshfield. Different sites are being explored, including the wastewater treatment plant site. The idea of a wind turbine was proposed to selectmen in July.
Close to 200 neighbors who have signed a petition in opposition to the wind turbine at the Brant Rock site agree with Squillante. Squillante said he has researched wind turbines online and read what others have said about them in their neighborhoods, and is mainly concerned that the turbine would affect property values in Brant Rock.
Property values are only one of his concerns, Squillante said, along with quality of life, possible health effects, icing dangers, the potential for harm to birds, the blinking light that would be needed to warn airplanes of the turbine’s presence and the noise.
“People seem to be surprised by how noisy they are,” he said.
Squillante said a constant drone would be heard day and night, and scoffed at the suggestion made during the selectmen’s meeting in July that all Brant Rock residents would have to do is close their windows at night.
“That’s why I live here, so I can open my windows and let the breeze come through,” he said.
For Marshfield residents who may be in favor of a wind turbine in Brant Rock, Squillante said they should ask themselves where the next one would go.
In July, Department of Public Works engineering assistant David Carriere said a wind turbine at the treatment plant could save NStar customers $20 to $30 a year on their energy bills.
However, Squillante said wind turbines do not make sense because they do not save enough money to make them worthwhile. They may make it possible to use less oil or coal, but he said a number of turbines are needed to have a serious impact.
If the study committee recommends the town pursue wind energy and selectmen agree on one or more sites, the next step would be a feasibility study funded by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The collaborative works in association with the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at Umass-Amherst to collect scientific data to determine whether wind turbines are feasible for producing electricity.
A meteorological tower would be used to collect the wind data for a year, and an economic analysis would also be completed.
Squillante said he wants to see the results of an environmental impact study that would take visual impact into account. He plans to present his perspective to the committee at its next meeting Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The committee will also meet Dec. 14 and 28.
One committee member, Julie Forsyth, and her husband, John, the president of the Brant Rock Village Association, are opposed to the wind turbine in Brant Rock, as are other neighbors in the association. Julie Forsyth cited many of the same concerns as Squillante, and noted that only sewer users would benefit.
She said her main objective is to make sure that a turbine is not placed near people She said Mass Tech guidelines dictate that a tower this size should not be within 900 to 1,000 feet of people, and the proposed turbine would be within approximately 750 feet of people.
Forsyth said, however, that she isn’t against wind turbines that can help the whole town.
“I really feel this is a great form of energy,” she said.
Forsyth said the committee is looking at possible sites around town to narrow the possibilities down to three or four. Committee member and Board of Public Works chairman Joseph Lambert said he does not count the wastewater treatment plant site out, and if it’s determined to be the best option, he would be in favor of it.
Lambert said the possibilities are limited to sites with a source of electricity because it would need to plug in somewhere. He said the committee is also in the beginning phases of exploring wind turbines in other South Shore cities and towns, including Hull.
“We want to see what’s working in other towns,” he said.
By Kathryn Koch, Staff Writer
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