Wind turbine idea for Table Mountain

2011-03-15 22:37

Cape Town - Why not build wind turbines on Table Mountain, an ANC politician asked senior Eskom officials on Tuesday.

The enquiry, from ruling party MP Chris Gololo, came after a briefing by the electricity utility - to a joint meeting of Parliament's energy and public enterprises portfolio committees - on its future spending plans.

Gololo said his question had to do with wind power.

"My question is based on the wind power, in that why can't we, for instance, establish a wind farm near the Table Mountain?[sic]

"Because the reason is if you drive along that area, if you look at those trees, actually they are all standing like this [bent over].

"To me, it tells me that there's a lot of wind there, which [sic] we can put a lot of these wind turbines. Even if you are travelling in a car, you will see that the car is shaking, like it's going to be blown off.

"Why can't we put those wind turbines along the mountain in order for us to generate more megawatts? Your comment please, thank you."

Responding, Eskom operations and planning division MD Kannan Lakmeeharam said the choice of site was not Eskom's to make.

"The choice of where you build is informed by regulatory requirements and environmental impact assessments... if the City of Cape Town is happy... to build on Table Mountain, that is their choice," he told Gololo.

  • Sedick - 2011-03-15 23:05

    I this guy for real? Next he will want us to put them on Robben Island........and , it was quite windy at the Waterfront yesterday. Why not put some there as well.......what about Adderly street...I mean that it's is so windy there sometimes, the fountain water is blown all over the place..........

      Jayjay001 - 2011-03-15 23:33

      Robben Island would not be too bad, I cannot believe that they wanna ruin the mountain range that's bringing all the tourists in when they have so many other places to do so. Bloody ANC agent! lol.

      Fanie - 2011-03-16 07:40

      Robben island is an excellent idea!!! flat - open, no turbulence,..LOL coupled with a gas sequestration plant on the roof of Looteezily House we will have green(sic) energy to spare...

      watalife - 2011-03-16 07:49

      rather move them to Gordand Bay. When i lived there some years back i cant remember if we had 1 day without any wind.Some new decorations on Taffelberg will actually look great.

      Stephanus - 2011-03-16 09:41

      It is a very good suggestion. Now ESKOM engineers must only determine if it is viable. I remember from research I have done before that wind turbines may have some impact on the enviroment (in Holland they reported the windfarms killed many birds). Still it is a good suggestion.

      brown_bread - 2011-03-16 12:59

      Stephanus, there are suggestions out there to paint the wings in stripes so the birds can see them as they spin. Don't know if they tried it anywhere yet. The question of location is not an issue here, the idea is great. One can always look for another location. The wind is there, so it must be used!

  • Shistirrer - 2011-03-15 23:05

    Why not put a wind turbine on each ANC politicians ass, there's so much hot air coming out of there?

      gretha.viviers - 2011-03-16 00:43


      sumac - 2011-03-16 07:05

      ROFLMAO .. excellent idea!!!

      muschook - 2011-03-16 07:10

      Problem is that wouldn't really be "green" power anymore, would it? (Brilliant comment Shistirrer!!!!)

      Fanie - 2011-03-16 07:42

      ...if put a funnel there to capture the methane - very aggressive green house gas and clean burning power source.......

      flyingsaucer - 2011-03-16 07:50

      Love it!!!'s renewable and in abundance. Finally we found reason for the afterbirth of that party to benefit country and society. Plus, they can just carry on as they do. I see our cities, suburbs and streets shine bright at night. We'll be able to export excess power for tons of cash and feed the corruption that produces it = Perpetuum Mobile!!! Viva ANC Viva...

      theoldmanofthemountains - 2011-03-16 09:06

      With the amount of hot air emanating from them, their mouths might be a better idea...

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-03-15 23:32

    While I suspect there may be hidden complications which may not be immediately obvious to the average Joe, this might not be such a bad idea. Wind turbines might look ugly, but if you think of them as monuments to a city's efforts to produce clean electricity, they're a darn sight prettier than a cloud of smog. And if if means a few pigeons and seagulls get accidentally minced, that's a tiny price to pay. Like the MP says, "Why can't we?". If the benefits outweigh the negatives, then it's a sensible suggestion worthy of serious consideration.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-03-15 23:33

      * And if *it* means a few pigeons...

      Patrick Fraser - 2011-03-15 23:46

      Oh no. There are two of them.

      Cameron - 2011-03-15 23:59

      You are kidding - right? Of all the places where the wind blows in the Western Cape(and it can blow), you want them to put it on table mountain? Why dont we stick solar panels on the high ways - wait, that might be a great idea!

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-03-16 00:55

      Here's how to respond: It's a bad idea because [insert sensible reason(s) here]. "It's a bad idea because an ANC politician came up with it" appears to be the knee-jerk response here. Humanity needs to find solutions to its energy problems, and one thing's for sure - comment board insults aren't solutions.

      barbie5768259 - 2011-03-16 05:41

      Any idea how noisy they are? VERY noisy.

      AJ - 2011-03-16 05:51

      @CapeTownJunk: it's a bad idea because it's a bad idea. You think a few turbines on one of the most recognisable natural structures in the world will rid a city of smog and be a testament to green living? They walk among us....

      Durbsviking - 2011-03-16 06:43

      Just to humour you, it is not feasible because the main criteria for wind turbines is clean air. This means a lot os space around them where the wind does not get defected or disturbed. Wind turbines do NOT like sudden changes in air velocity. And since Cape Town markets their mountain as a reserve, perhaps not an idea to build on it. Why not put 3000 toilets on the face of it. All that wind will keep the smell at bay.

      Tigra - 2011-03-16 07:34

      It's not about being ugly. It's about putting wind turbines in a nature reserve. We do have an oversupply of pigeons and seagulls here in the Cape BUT there are a lot more animals who will be affected.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-03-16 08:12

      @Durbsviking: Thanks, I appreciate the response. The next question I'd ask is "Is the turbulent nature of the wind an insurmountable obstacle, or can it be overcome by a bit of ingenious customised design?". (Don't get me wrong - like most people here, I'd need a lot of convincing that this would be a worthwhile idea. But I don't think that "they're ugly" or "they'll ruin the postcard view" is a reason to reject the idea out of hand.)

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-03-16 08:56

      @CapeTownJunk: It would be a good ieda if all other good locations were exhausted. Don't underestimate the impact these things have on the landscape. They are quite an eyesore and as much as I support wind and solar energy Table Mountain would be the last place to put them. I think there are enough good locations along the coast and on mountains were their visual impact would be less damaging. Another possibility is to put solar panels on each and every roof in SA. To start they can make it a requirement for every new building going up and subsidise it to entice the building owners (not just houses) to do the same. If they produce the solarpanels locally you could kill 2 birds with one stone: jobcreation and tackeling the enregy issue. Off course the same would apply for windturbines. Produce those locally as well, if necessesary in a joint venture with those who build them allready oversees to import their knowledge and R&D. But keep them of Table Mountain please.

      freddy - 2011-03-16 12:01

      Good day CapeTownJunk I do not know everything related to wind farms, however, i do understand that aviation legislation prohibits wind farms in the visinity of any aviation infrastructure, be it radar, navigational aids, flight paths, etc. If wind was a real alternative, then it would have been made feasible a long time ago.

      brown_bread - 2011-03-16 13:09

      The NIMBY syndrome at play. I dont favor the turbines on the TM, but if its solely for people's view, i say screw that. People make TM look ugly when they are all over there anyway an nobody complains. Okay, seriously though, if people complain about a coal plant, and complain about renewable energy, what exactly do they want? Sounds like black outs are not a very bad idea are they? If one opposes the location, which do you suggest? Be progressive and CONTRIBUTE other than just bashing for the sake of it. I agree that there are other equally windy areas around there...

      Dave - 2011-03-16 13:28

      Durbsviking is correct. Wind turbines are most effective in areas with consistent wind velocity and direction. Yes, the wind is often very strong there but the influence of the mountainous topography will make the wind highly variable. This variability in can be a bad thing as, depending on the type of wind turbine, there is a Yaw drive (effectively a motor to orientate the turbine perpendicular to the wind direction) which is driven by a motor (ie requires electricity). So the more the wind direction changes the more the motor has to work and I'm sure you get the picture. Also variable wind is known to damage turbines, so how effective would it be at all is anyone's guess. in addition wind farms need to forecast electricity produced through wind production to balance the over all grid, forecasting in such a variable environment is very difficult. also the EIA that would have to be done must by law account for other potential areas of implementation, and studies as low as honours level have indicated that areas of the west coast are far more economical for wind turbines... as stated, there are many other good reasons for not locating the turbines on table mountain.. I agree the knee-jerk reaction of it being stupid because it's an ANC idea is unfair. Gololo's comment was not made from a knowledgeable stance, but that's why we have EIA's and SEA's... can he get credit for at least try to clean up Cape Towns energy footprint...?

  • renesongs - 2011-03-16 00:06

    How about a methane capture facility in loot-freely house ?

  • snackpaz - 2011-03-16 00:35

    this is a guy put in power by the majority...of US

  • Mike-O - 2011-03-16 01:00

    Rocket scientist.

  • Markusman - 2011-03-16 01:16

    table mountain is the only place in the western cape where the wind blows, its also a wilderness area and a world heritage site. why would you NOT want to put wind turbines on it- right on top to catch the most wind. of course, the "greenpeace" status will outweigh the loss of tourism income. cant believe I didnt come up with that myself...

      Enuff - 2011-03-16 09:27

      Table Mountain is definitely NOT the only place in the Western Cape that the wind blows. If there weren't other options - sure, go ahead. But there are hundreds of options all along the coast. Table Mountain should be a last resort. Why not expand the current wind farm outside Darling??

      Markusman - 2011-03-16 09:52

      you do understand that I was joking right?

  • piedcow - 2011-03-16 01:34

    If we leave aside the aesthetic concerns that a few people may have Mr Gololo should do a little reading about wind power. Ideally the wind should be clean, i.e. not turbulent, as this has a marked impact on the longevity of the installation. A lot of table mountain is likely to be turbulent. Looking for bent trees is a good indicator of how windy a place is, but it is not necessarily a good indicator of the suitability for a wind farm. Accessibility might be something else he would like to consider. There is a multi million dollar industry built on predicting wind patterns and working out where to put farms. Some very prominent ones are working in SA as we speak. Mr Gololo should research a little more before he speaks. His time would be better spent trying to win a few more votes for the ANC in the Western Cape or looking into whether his hamster could help lower his electricity bill.

  • John.L - 2011-03-16 02:02

    I think that's a brilliant idea! Make is as big and ugly as possible as well! I was forced out of my rural property a few years ago by Eskom deciding to build a big coal fired power station in my backyard (Balmoral). The company doing the environmental impact report were from Cape Town and had absocultely no problem with that idea - them and Eskom are all just a bunch of crooked jerks! Let them have a huge wind farm in their backyard! Love it!

  • John.L - 2011-03-16 02:36

    I think it's a great idea! It will be poetic justice for the Cape Town environmental consultants who had absolutely no problems with Eskom sticking a big coal fired power station in MY backyard (near Balmoral). They and Eskom are just a bunch of thieving low lifes! Hope the wind farm is as big and ugly as possible!

  • Beam me up - 2011-03-16 05:22

    Another Dumb-arse idea from the fckedup ANC. They have no brains, no vision, zero thinking before they speak. It will not happen in my life time and I will make sure of that!

      dwpathome - 2011-03-16 11:18

      We could 'arrange' for your lifetime to end before they start work on the windturbines next week!

      brown_bread - 2011-03-16 13:12

      I wonder who doesnt have a vision here. Wind energy a dumb idea without vision? You must be joking. But then again, we cant expect everyone to comprehend these things.

  • AJ - 2011-03-16 05:49

    Aside from the obvious insanity of the idea for various brilliant reasons, one should rather find very large tracts of land, largely inhospitable and uninhabited and unused where one can develop a significant wind farm with many 'turbines' . Sticking 1 or 2 wherever you reckon the wind kicks up a bit is nonsensical.

  • Shisstirrer QBE - 2011-03-16 05:59

    What has this dude been smoking ?

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-03-16 08:50


  • duncan - 2011-03-16 06:17

    What about a little fan strapped to MP's backsides?

  • Gennath - 2011-03-16 06:31

    Well why not rather pave table mountain with solar panels while we're all ignoring common sense?

  • Peter - 2011-03-16 06:35


  • albert martin - 2011-03-16 06:35

    The stupidty of the ruling party defies logic!

  • SAtoStay - 2011-03-16 06:59

    Perhaps it has more to do with the ANC's willingness to destroy the Western Cape if it doesn't buy into their ego trip.

  • sumac - 2011-03-16 07:12

    This guy obviously has NO concept of what a heritage site is, or of what tourism generates for this country. I am all in favour of wind power but does he really think people will still be as attracted to the mountain when it's covered in turbines? Why not put them all over Cape Point or Cape Agulhas too?? It's very windy there too. FFS there are thousands of other just-as-windy places to put the turbines where they will not be an eyesore!

  • Ken Corsar - 2011-03-16 07:13

    Table Mountain is a WORLD HERITAGE SITE, placing any structure there other than the cable car will result in that status being withdrawn - equal less tourism (who would want to look at mountain with giant windmills on it) besides those things are noisy - put them out to sea like Europe does (far out to sea). Have never heard of a more 'dumbass' idea in all my life in terms of placement; the concept I applaud as it does make sense.

      Fanie - 2011-03-16 08:15

      ... think 1994..... talk about a dumbass idea - putting the ANC into parliament to quote ken "Have never heard of a more 'dumbass' idea in all my life in terms of placement; the concept I applaud as it does make sense."

      Rupa - 2011-03-16 20:03

      I was about to make the same comment. In the Netherlands we have 2 offshore windturbine"parks", one of them consists of 36 windturbines and is around 15 KM offshore. Produces enough electricity to power 125000 houses. Why ON the mountain?! put them out in sea!

  • spiderkzn - 2011-03-16 07:17

    I think it not good idea to put on table mountain as it will be eyesore for foreigner. they should put someplace else

      Jenny - 2011-03-16 07:55

      You think!

  • Fanie - 2011-03-16 07:23

    OK so now they want to ruin the good province - if the DA says NO - they are bad pollutant mongers and loose votes, if they say yes the mountain is ruined and they will loose votes As luck would have it - wind farms need steady winds - not something you find on Table mountain - windspeeds being to high and gusty But this concept is above the reasoning level of the African National Clowns

  • Des - 2011-03-16 07:40

    The trees are bent............the car is shaking..........aha.....let's have wind turbines here. Go knock your head against the wall so that the black thing rowing inside can get a better grip on the oar !!!!!

  • 1eye - 2011-03-16 07:46

    mmm his name with some small modification indicates the sum of the fool

  • Lee - 2011-03-16 07:50

    He is saying "establish a wind farm near the Table Mountain". "Near" being the operative word. We are so use to complaining about the ANC, that we immediately assume the worst. I ask why not? If it is feasible, why not? We will still have the same beautiful view of Table Mountain, as the only open space "near" TM is behind the mountain. And even if it is placed “behind” TM it is not to say that it would be close to TM. Let me ask you this – you are willing to smell the pig sh*t (and it stinks!) near TM but you complain about this, which would benefit Cape Town.

  • Jenny - 2011-03-16 07:54

    Do they think that by putting wind turbines on Table Mountain they will win the Western Cape for the ANC? And now we know what the ANC will do if they win in the Western Cape!

  • Johan - 2011-03-16 07:57

    You just need to put some anc politicians on poles to generate electricity - they are always spinning around.

  • XAD - 2011-03-16 07:58

    Guess this has to do with the Chinese wind turbine company wanting to invest 'heavily' in SA. Just PLEASE not ON a world renowned landmark, that will be like urinating in your own drinking water! Admittedly Gololo did say "near" Table Mountain.

  • Pedro - 2011-03-16 08:01

    To think this idiot is part of the crowd running this country!

  • Slapper - 2011-03-16 08:18

    What about putting a big McDonalds sign up there as well? Eeissh its only a big Hill, we can make money from it. The Tourists and Natural monuments people wont mind.

  • slojam - 2011-03-16 08:31

    The build up to April fools....

  • Karen - 2011-03-16 08:35

    OMW This Guy cannot be for real ? What a super tourist attraction that would be ? Wind Turbines on Table Mountain ! Now THAT would be a real drawcard !! My Mom always taught me to count to 10 before I opened my mouth, I am seriously thinking of running for President !!

  • daaivark - 2011-03-16 08:40

    It's a World Heritage Site. Nice easy answer for dummies that see trees bending like thees. Brightest sparks in the country end up in those hallowed halls.

  • daaivark - 2011-03-16 08:41

    Stick a few in his yard for all the hot air he talks.

  • paulmandlankosi - 2011-03-16 08:49

    There is nothing wrong with a wind turbine but a bad idea because an ANC politician came up with it

      Shistirrer - 2011-03-16 09:13

      No, it's a bad idea because it's insane. Want reasons? 1. It's a World Heritage site 2. It's will kill tourism in SA (not only the WC, but ALL of SA) 3. The wind swirls around the mountain 4. We already have a wind farm near Darling, just across the bay 5. It's a bad idea 6. It's insane 7. It will be as effective as showering to prevent Aids

      AJ - 2011-03-17 07:16

      @paulmandlankois - if he had come up with the idea of doign a large windfar in an inhospitable unsed area with little impact on various things, then it would have been an idea worth investigating. But if it's rubbish then it's rubbish (regardless of the origin) and this idea is, well...rubbish.

  • - 2011-03-16 08:50

    I don't think it's a bad idea. Just because he chose a high visibility area and he can't speak English, doesn't mean he should be shot down in flames. The Cape has a serious power problem,, wind power could ease that situation. There must be at least one area that could be used for power generation that wouldn't "spoil the view". And, I would rather have a wind turbine on my doorstep than no power...

      Shistirrer - 2011-03-16 09:28

      The Cape does not have a serious power problem. We have Koeberg, which has a lot of excess capacity that is used to supplement the supply to the rest of the country. The problems we experienced in the past, was due to Eskom's own bungle (remember the bolt in the turbine?), which happened while the other reactor was scheduled for shutdown to replenish the fuel.

  • cr1t - 2011-03-16 08:57

    I think the question is not where we can build win turbines but why we don't have more of them all ready?

      Stevie - 2011-03-16 11:58

      Reason #1: Eskom. Eskom is currently responsible for all power generation, transmission, and distribution to the entire country. They're barely coping with all of this as it is because of various reasons. To branch out into green energy would require an investment of skills and new infrastructure that they simply don't have, so that slice of their pie is on the cards for private power producers (ppp). These ppp's cannot directly compete with a parastatal, so have to be paid for their contribution to Eskoms's grid. What they get paid is determined by NERSA, and this price will ultimately determine whether or not ppp's are economically viable. Too low, and Eskom cannot make enough profit to maintain the grid = system failure. Too high, and Eskom cannot afford to pay the ppp's = system failure.

      darkwing - 2011-03-16 19:10

      Reason number 2. Where are you going to find enough space for enough windmills to generate enough electricity for ALL the people in the country and our neighbours?

  • ArtimusPrime - 2011-03-16 09:12

    I live in Vredehoek on Devils Peak, and it gets damn windy there, so it is not a bad idea to have it behind the Diza (tampon) towers.

      Shistirrer - 2011-03-16 09:29

      ROTFLMAO!!! Best name ever for those three monstrosities!

  • Mikus - 2011-03-16 09:16

    It's all about presentation - Gololo is clearly lacking in certain skills but the idea of harnessing the Capes massive wind resource is a good one.

  • coret - 2011-03-16 09:19

    i think it's a brilliant idea to put up wind turbines in the Cape, obviously not ON the mountain, that is just silly, but the Cape has ALOT of windy days, and the turbines are a lot prettier than stinky Koeberg. we ARE called the Cape of storms after all :)

      Stevie - 2011-03-16 11:41

      Koeberg is not stinky. Lephalale and Witbank are stinky and everyone knows why. Trust me, the majority of proposed wind farms I've been involved in have mostly been in the Western Cape with a few in the Eastern Cape. Sites are not just picked out of a hat. Very intricate studies are done by private specialists long before any construction happens. I know - I'm one of them.

      coret - 2011-03-16 13:16

      thanks Stevie, keep up the good work, i think those wind turbines are beautiful and can only be better than coal and nuclear. i'm glad i don't live near witbank or lephalale - something does smell near Koeberg (?)

  • agthorpe - 2011-03-16 09:23

    A couple of things need to be considered with regards to the location of a wind turbine. The consistency of wind at the right speed is more important than just a strong wind every now and again. I don't think Table Mountain would be suitable - for that reason...not just for the fact that a "fan" next to the cable car would look funny. ;-)

      coret - 2011-03-16 10:11

      considering that one of the tiny wind turbines installed to power the cameras and light-signs on the N2 and N1 near Cape Town got blown off, hitting a car does say the wind may be "a bit" gusty. Hope the big ones are more sturdy

  • Souf-Efrikan - 2011-03-16 09:34

    When the Another Nonsensical Comment (ANC) open their mouths, you can see their lips tremble and hot air comes forth, why not put wind turbines in front of their election platforms and we can power the entire planet for the next few decades.... Has science actually get to a point where cars shaking and skew trees are an indication where to build wind farms? I suppose they would think that fluid dynamics, wind patterns and seasonal changes are terms invented by Verwoerd because Verwoerd knew they would struggle with these terms one day...

  • mm - 2011-03-16 09:39

    I think wind turbines are beautiful pieces of engineering. I have seen it overseas, and a wind-turbine farm looks beautiful. I am in two minds about this though. It would definitely change the view of table mountain from what we are used to, but on the other side it might actually look beautiful to see these giant "wind-mills" turning on the mountain. So I am not fully against it. South Africa really has to become greener and start exploiting the wonderful weather we have to our benefit. BUT with that said, I think there should be major research done on ways to generate power, because just think, if we could turn all the k@k that the ANC is spewing every day, we could power the whole country. - 2011-03-16 11:57

      excuse me dont you think there could be any other possible location? whats wrong with you people?

      AJ - 2011-03-17 07:20 There are many who dont grasp how HUGE these wind turbines are...

  • Zion - 2011-03-16 10:16

    Now if you think this is funny then you aint heard nutting yet. There were/are still plans to sink a mining type of shaft through Table Mountain and equipped with a cage to an accessible level so people and equipment can go directly to the top without using the cable car. Apparently the idea stems from the celebration of South Africa's mining history. That should look good.

  • dalemichaelmccann - 2011-03-16 10:21

    What a stupid idea Gololo. Where did you go to school? Dumb ass high??

  • Tass Schwab - 2011-03-16 10:32

    Eish - I give up - our natural disasters are our ruling party MP's

  • Carlito Brigante - 2011-03-16 10:39

    Put wind turbines in PE and let their strong window generate electricity for them and then send this ANC mampara back to the EC so that he can enjoy the sparks coming out of his ass powering his lightbulbs.

  • Dumbstruck - 2011-03-16 10:44

    Bad idea. These things tend to have a huge impact on natural airflow, because they create turbulance which is unnatural. Hot air moving up-wards create winds. Winds bring rain. But if airflow is impaired, it will also impact rain paterns ect., something which is a problem already.

  • Glenn - 2011-03-16 11:05

    Wind turbines will firstly spoil the view of Table mountain and secondly they should not be placed in too windy areas as this can damage the turbines . the muppets didn't do their research as usual .

  • Stevie - 2011-03-16 11:28

    I've been involved in EIA reports for wind farms since 2007. I can tell you all that where to put them is not the problem - there are independent engineers and specialists that use sophisticated computer modelling to find the most optimal locations. It's not just a case of placing them where there's wind. Laminar flow is required (strong, steady, constant), and the best place to find that is out to sea, but that's also the most expensive option for construction and maintenance. The biggest issue I see in SA regarding wind farms, and solar plants for that matter, believe it or not is a political one. There's plenty foreign money that wants to buy into our private power producer (ppp) sector, but Eskom and NERSA have to walk a fine line in what they pay the ppp's versus how much it costs the ppp to build and operate. Furthermore, Eskom has only designated a small slice of it's pie for green ppp's, meaning that everyone wanting to build a wind or solar facility is now scrabbling to get their EIA's approved, which can sometimes lead to "cutting corners" in the science of these things.

      darkwing - 2011-03-16 19:14

      Coal based power supply will never disappear from this country. Too many jobs depend on it.