The Jeffreys Bay Council has decided to invest in wave energy to solve the power shortages facing the town.
Wave energy, as well as wind energy will be harvested from the ocean and fed directly into the grid. Excess capacity will be given to Eskom to help supply the rest of the Eastern Cape with power.
However, the scheme is not without controversy as the Council has identified the area between the Supertubes surf break and Lower Point as the ideal position to plant the bouys and wind turbines.
“We are proud to come up with innovative ways that will solve the electricity problems facing Jeffreys Bay,” said Edgar Lightbulbi from the Municipality.
“We will be able to supply our people with free electricity while the Wavecrest people will have an uninterrupted supply of power and they will help us pay back the money,” added Lightbulbi.
“It is a winnable situation for all.”
The surf community are up in arms about the proposal as the big underwater buoys will impact the swells that hit the perfectly shaped reefs and create the waves that have made Jeffreys Bay famous.
The wind turbines will also be situated just offshore, meaning that when the bigger swells arrive, surfers may actually have to dodge the turbines when riding waves.
“This is just another ridiculous idea and can actually be described as madness,” said Tonnel Van Tonder, the chairman of the Surfriders Club.
“They will destroy the waves and then what will be left of Jeffreys Bay?”
Lightbulbi dismissed the concerns and said that the surfers must bring proof that the underwater buoys will negatively impact the waves.
“We are tired of the same people complaining all the time. They don’t want nuclear power at Thyspunt, and when we come up with a good solution, they just moan and moan.
We are tired and sick of it. Maybe we will charge them more for the electricity if they don’t stop moaning,” he said.
“We are also convinced that the Billabong Pro wont be affected as it is the top surfers in the world that are coming to surf. They are the crop of the cream and will be able to dodge the wind turbines with ease.
In fact the Billabong will be the only contest in the world with this unique factor and maybe it is just that the surfers who live in Wavecrest just don’t have the skills to surf properly and that is why they are complaining,” said Lightbulbi.
The project is set for completion on 1 April 2017.