The mayoral committee has given its backing to an energy-purchase agreement with Darling Wind Farm north of Cape Town, paving the way for the use of wind power in the city from 2007. The recommendation must now go before the city council for consideration before the deal can be finalised. If all goes to plan, it could represent an important step in allowing Cape Town to reach its target of obtaining ten per cent of its energy requirements from sustainable sources by 2020, as well as paving the way for other green energy projects in the province.

Initially, the energy would be available to consumers at a discount of 25c per kilowatt-hour, according to a city council press release. It would be supplied through the regional energy distributor RED1, which is due to take over assets and staff from the parastatal electricity company Eksom and the city of Cape Town on 1 July.

The Darling Wind Farm is a R70 million pilot project funded by Danish development aid, the Central Energy Fund and the Darling Independent Power Producing Company. It is expected to start generating next year and will have a capacity of 13.2 gigawatt-hours per annum.

Darling is one of two pilot wind power projects in South Africa, the other being at Klipheuwel, also in the Western Cape. The province is a perfect location for generating wind energy as its prevailing winds come from two directions and tend to blow during peak electricity consumption periods.