The wind farm element of Grahamstown’s proposed combined renewable energy project has raised serious concerns from the game reserve sector.
Dr William Fowlds, chairman of Indalo, the association of private game reserves in the area, said although the proposed Grahamstown wind farm comprised just nine turbines, “we are concerned it is the thin end of the wedge”.
“We have been told by environmental consultants involved in this project that this is one of 30 to 60 wind farms proposed for the Eastern Cape and if this one is approved it will open the door for the rest.
“Besides our concerns about bird and bat strikes, in terms of the visual aspect this would transform a landscape attractive to eco-tourists to an industrial landscape.
“Our tourists have told us they will not support us if this scenario is realised. It will be a catastrophe for our industry and protection of these landscapes.”
Indalo is calling for a strategic environmental assessment to first be done overlaying existing successful sustainable industries, with possible renewable options and particular consideration to be given to existing industrial zones like Coega.
It is calling also for greater consideration to be given to solar power which has huge potential and where panels would be on poles at most 30m high as opposed to the 150m wind turbines.
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