Karpowership environment approval process suspended in Saldanha

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Karpowership "Shark" Class
Karpowership "Shark" Class

Plans to tap emergency power from vessel-based plants face another hurdle after Turkey’s Karpowership had the environmental approval process for one of three projects it is planning in South Africa suspended.

The approval of its project in Saldanha Bay has been halted so that allegations made in a complaint by Green Connection, a non-profit environmental organisation, can be investigated, Karpowership said in a response to a query on Saturday. It’s unclear when the approval process will resume.

The country’s environmental department received the complaint on May 31. Green Connection alleges underwater noise associated with a plant that Karpowership plans to moor in the bay will disrupt sea life and fishing.

The notice from the department is the latest obstacle faced by Karpowership, which in March was selected as a preferred bidder to supply about 1 220 megawatts of power by August next year from three powerships moored off the country’s coast.

The award has been criticized because it locks the country into the use of a fossil fuel for 20 years and a business organization commissioned a legal opinion that said the company may not be allowed to moor its ships off the coast. A losing bidder in the tender has also filed a court challenge alleging corruption. Karpowership has denied wrongdoing.

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