Renewable energy is a much-needed addition to South Africa’s power sources. The country’s reliance on coal is both unsustainable and environmentally damaging, and it is vital to include alternatives in the energy arsenal. It is also vital to ensure that those alternatives are, in their turn, sustainable and not environmentally damaging. It goes without saying that they should be effective generators of energy.
WIND ENERGY PROJECTS
Four wind farms operate in this district, with a fifth due to start construction in March 2019 There is a proposal for three more to be developed, in the areas between the existing wind farms. If all three of these Impofu developments are constructed, a total of over 200 turbines will stand between the N2 and the Oyster Bay coast.
The Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm went into operation in March 2014. This wind farm has 60 turbines and a capacity of 138MW. The wind farm is continually monitoring bird and bat presence on the site, and has agreed to the St Francis Bird Club undertaking parallel monitoring of bird species.
The 32-turbine Kouga Wind Farm, between St Francis Bay and Oyster Bay, went into operation in March 2015. The resident Denham’s Bustard population is being closely observed to monitor any changes in numbers and behaviour.
The Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm, near Clarkson, comprises 31 turbines which went into operation in March 2016.
The last of the four projects licensed so far, the Gibson Bay Wind Farm, is situated west of Oyster Bay. This 37 turbine wind farm went into operation in April 2017.
The Oyster Bay wind farm was selected as a preferred bidder in the 2014 bidding round of the REIPPP programme but was delayed by the Eskom hiatus in signing power purchase agreements. Construction is expected to start in March 2019. This 46 turbine project is immediately adjacent to the Kouga Wind Farm, effectively doubling the size of the area under turbines.