Karpowership to get SA environmental ruling by March 7

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Karpowership, the Turkish company seeking to supply 1,220 megawatts of power to South Africa, will get a decision on its application to proceed with the projects from the nation’s environment department by March 7. 

The application, which was filed earlier this month, comes at a time when the nation is suffering its worst-ever power cuts. An earlier appeal was rejected by the department after a legal challenge from environmental activists and the company has since carried out a fresh series of public consultations. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment confirmed the receipt of the application and the decision date. 

Karpowership in March 2021 won the bulk of an emergency power tender seeking to secure 2,000 megawatts of electricity to ease shortages that have plagued South Africa since 2008. It would supply its energy from three ship-mounted gas-fired power plants that environmentalists have said would contribute to carbon emissions and disrupt marine ecology and fishing. They have also objected to the 20-year duration of the contract.

“South Africa is in the midst of an acute energy crisis,” Karpowership said on Friday in a response to questions. “The company is ready to help ease the heavy burden of South Africa’s energy crisis.”

South Africa had blackouts on 205 days last year and has had outages every day in 2023 because of breakdowns at the coal-fired power plants owned by Eskom.

The emergency power tender has largely failed. Projects equivalent to only 7.5% of the 2 000 megawatt total have concluded their financial arrangements.

If the environmental approval is granted and financial arrangements concluded soon after, Karpowership may then deliver electricity under that arrangement within 14 to 15 months.

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