PHASE ONE of the Darling National Demonstration Wind Farm project has recently been given the go-ahead by the Department of Environmental and Cultural Affairs and Sport (DECAS). The proposed wind farm will be located on the slopes of Moedmaag Hill, Windhoek farm (portion 552 of Slangkop) just north-west of the town of Darling in the west coast region of the Western Cape Province.
The authorisation for the erection of four Danish supplied 1,3 MW wind turbines and the development of associated infrastructure such as roads, sub-stations and subsurface power cables, is subject to a set of conditions contained in the Record of Decision issued by DECAS. These conditions were taken from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out by UCT's Environmental Evaluation Unit (EEU) and submitted to DECAS in January 2002.
According to EEU consultant Janet Bodenstein the EIA found that the first four turbines would not have any major detrimental effects on the fauna and flora in the area, nor on the human inhabitants or domestic animals.
The main benefits of the demonstration wind farm indicated in the EIA report were that it would provide key information on the development, implementation, operation and feasibility of wind power projects in South Africa; that it would generate clean renewable energy over the life of the project with no generation of "greenhouse" gasses such as carbon dioxide; and that it would transfer skills and technology to SA.
Between 40–50 job opportunities will be created during the construction period, while a number of people would be employed on a permanent basis once a proposed visitor centre has been constructed.
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