A wind arm consisting of up to 30 turbines that could each be 200m high has been proposed for the mountain slopes of the Overberg, off the R317 between Bonnievale and the N2 near Riviersonderend.
Each turbine will have a capacity of between two and three megawatts (MW), and the project – the Brakkefontein Wind Energy Project proposed for two cattle farms totalling 1 700 hectares – will help supply the Western Cape with electricity if one of Koeberg’s two generating units goes down, says the Grahamstown-based developer, Terra Power Solutions.
But the owners of one of the immediate neighbours, Melozhori Game Reserve, are horrified at the prospect that they say will devastate the environment and and have a severely adverse effect on their viability.
”… the sustainability of Melozhori and that of surrounding game farms and eco-tourism businesses is at stake here,” Melozhori managing director Ismail Bhorat said.
A draft scoping report on the project was published this month. Scoping is the first phase of an environmental impact assessment and is only aimed at identifying potential impacts. If these are deemed likely to be severe, they must be subject to specialised in-depth investigation.
One key question not answered in the scoping report is which authority will have the final say on the project.
The national Environmental Affairs Department insists it had decision-making powers, while the Western Cape’s Environment and Planning Department says it became the competent authority for wind farms in the province on January 19 this year, except when Eskom is the applicant.
l For further information, contact Coastal & Environmental Services: 046 622 2364/7, or e-mail Info@cesnet.co.za
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