Applications for at least 88 wind farms have been received by the Eastern and Western Cape authorities and some of these wind farms are expected to have as many as 600 turbines located on them.
According to figures submitted to the Department of Environment Affairs there are 40 wind farms likely to be erected in the Western Cape and if these are approved, about 2 800 turbines will be installed around the province.
At least five of the proposals for new wind farms have not stipulated how many turbines they are likely to build to supply electricity to the provincial grid.
There are 31 applications for wind farms in the Eastern Cape.
Each wind farm application has to be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment. Each turbine is between 80 metres and 120 metres tall, the height of a 20-or 30-storey building.
The wind farms sites are all reasonably close to the national electricity grid but are scattered throughout the provinces and sited in places where there is a consistent supply of wind.
Many of them are planned for spots along the windy West Coast stretching from Darling (about 60 km north of Cape Town) to Vredendal on the Olifants River, 300 km away from the city.
There are eight wind farms proposed for the Garden Route, four around Swellendam, two near Mossel Bayand fiver in the Overberg. There are also three farms planned for Caledon and two in Bredasdorp.
The smallest wind farm application is at Albertinia where just six turbines are likely to be built. The biggest wind farm is expected to rise at Middleton near Bedford in the Eastern Cape where 685 turbines will be built if the province approves the plan.
Several wind farms are planned for the Karoo and many of these are also large. Outside Beaufort West one farm will have about 275 turbines while another near Laingsburg will comprise 400 turbines.
The government’s Integrated Resource Plan 2010 says that 19,7% of new electricity generation will come from wind power as part of its plan to stop the country’s reliance on coal-fired electricity generation in the future.
While there has not been much public response to the wind farms, some communities have already lodged objections against the planned wind farms and one project, in Brittania Bay, has been delayed because of opposition from residents of the town.