Interest groups in the West Coast Peninsula are objecting to the proposed 140MW Boulders Wind Farm. The new wind energy project is intended to be erected on farmland near the Paternoster, Britannia Bay, St Helena Bay and Vredenburg areas. A government announcement regarding its decision on this project is due within the next two weeks.
Should it be approved, the wind farm will be situated next to the 94MW West Coast One wind energy facility, which has separate owners. Nevertheless, a massive stretch of land in the West Coast will be used as a renewable energy facility.
Consisting of 45 separate 165m-tall turbines, the proposed Boulders Wind Farm has generated a lot of debate about the effects it could have on the area. Specifically, critics argue that the turbines are an eyesore and will cause aesthetic pollution. Peter Pickford, an environmental author and photographer, told Cape Talk that, “The visual impact, obviously, is extremely high.”
Pickford says the wind turbines will be visible for 90 kilometres up and down the coast and around 60 kilometres inland. “That will have a massive impact just on the tourism,” he said.
The West Coast area is known for its natural beauty and landscapes. A development as large as this may result in the devaluing of property along with having negative effects on tourism in the area. “Why are we not looking at areas where we do not expose tourism?” asked Pickford.
When talking about the additional negatives of the wind farm, specifically the danger it causes to wildlife including birds and bats in the area, Pickford said that the risks being taken are ‘unacceptable’.
“The risks are long term, with ramifications for nature and the socio-economic ramifications are very very big,” he said.
In a report on the Boulders Wind Farm, consultancy firm Coastal and Environmental Services (CES) recommended that the project be approved. The report stated that the negative impacts, including environmental and social costs, can be decreased be taking appropriate precaution. In addition, the report stated that the wind farm will be in accordance with the government’s development goals around renewable energy.