The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning approved the power plant’s environmental impact assessment, saying it was satisfied it would not conflict with environmental legislation, and that any negative impact could be reduced to acceptable levels. The wind farm should be capable of supplying 70% of the Witzenberg Municipality’s electricity.
The 90MW wind farm of 30 turbines, each between 90m and 110m high, is proposed for the Breede River Valley between Wolseley and Worcester. Planning began in 2008. If it goes ahead it will save more than 300 000t of carbon dioxide that coal-fired power stations would generate over the wind farm’s 20-year lifespan. The Western Cape currently received most of its electricity from Mpumalanga, about 1 600km away.
The layout of the proposed development was made in such a way that the turbines will largely avoid any sensitive vegetation.
A study found that the turbines were not on any known major bird flight paths. While the turbines would have an impact on bats, none of them would be built in the areas rated as having a high or moderate impact on bats. The wind farm towers will be built by a company in the Eastern Cape.