Comments on Swellendam wind farm open now
Those interested or affected by the Goereesoe Wind Farm near Swellendam have until 19 January 2015 to comment. INCA Energy is planning to build a wind energy facility outside the town of Swellendam. The facility will cover more than 1300 hectares, with 15 turbines proposed, each up to 120m in height.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment report, compiled by Savannah Environmental, the wind farm should be allowed to go ahead. However, the appropriate mitigation must be implemented. The report says, “(I)t is the opinion of the EIA project team that the application for the proposed Goereesoe wind energy facility and associated infrastructure can be mitigated to an acceptable level…”
Aside from the 15 turbines, which could have three blades each up to 120m in diameter, internal access roads are required, as well as an on-site substation. An overhead power line, which is likely to be connected to the existing Vryheid-Bredasdorp line, is also needed.
The proposed site currently includes remnants of Eastern Rûens Shale Renosterveld and Rûens Silcrete Renosterveld – both listed as critically endangered. The report suggests two turbines should be relocated to areas where these vegetation types aren’t found.
At least one species of bat identified as occurring in the area is listed as Vulnerable, and three as Near Threatened. The report also proposes that three turbines located in High Bat Sensitivity areas be moved, and that three more found in Moderate Bat Sensitivity areas also potentially be moved. However, if this is not possible, “they must at least be prioritised in post-construction monitoring and implementation of mitigation”.
The report states that pre-construction monitoring confirmed the site to be of “low sensitivity from an avifauna habitat perspective since the site… is heavily transformed by agriculture. However, in terms of collision risk to sensitive species, areas of the site are considered to be of moderate to high significance.”
According to Savannah Environmental, interested and affected parties now have until 19 January 2015 to comment.
The full report can be read here.
Comments can be submitted to Sustainable Futures ZA, P.O. Box 749
Rondebosch, 7701. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Or tel: 083 325 9965