The decision by the department of forestry, fisheries & the environment (DFFE) on Thursday to refuse environmental authorisations for Karpowership SA’s multibillion-rand independent power producer (IPP) projects in South Africa is likely to be appealed.
“Karpowership SA strongly disagrees with the decision of the DFFE not to approve our projects in Saldanha Bay, Richards Bay and Coega,” it said in an updated statement on Thursday in reaction to the announcement. “We are reviewing DFFE’s notification and carefully considering all matters raised. Thereafter, we will take appropriate recourse in line with our analysis of their comments.”
This followed an initial, more vocal statement in which the company said it would appeal the decision. It claimed the department had “allowed a misinformation campaign funded by special interests to derail the department of mineral resources & energy’s strategic plan”.
In its updated statement, Karpowership SA reiterated that it had “conducted a robust public participation process, met all South Africa’s stringent environmental requirements, and is well positioned to address concerns in full”.
“Our three projects will provide 800 000 South African homes with cleaner, reliable and affordable power, and we remain fully committed to the projects and are eager to get to work generating reliable electricity for South Africa,” it added.
The Turkish-led Karpowership SA consortium, which has local black empowerment partners, secured the lion’s share of emergency power supply tenders announced by energy minister Gwede Mantashe in March as part of his department’s Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme in March.
The programme plans to secure 2GW of additional power from independent providers to help ease South Africa’s energy supply crisis linked to national power utility Eskom. Karpowership SA effectively won the tender to supply over 1.2GW of power through an innovative plan to moor gas-to-power ships at three of the country’s industrial ports. The group, however, needed to secure the relevant environmental approvals from the DFFE.
Its winning bids have also come under scrutiny for reportedly not following proper procedures, in addition to environmental lobby groups questioning the potential impact of its ships on marine life harbours such as Saldanha Bay.
According to its local website, Karpowership is a global company that owns and operates “the world’s largest and only floating power plant fleet of 25 powerships”. These ships reportedly provide over 4.1GW of power, primarily to eight African countries as well as locations across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.
“Karpowership SA is a fully empowered, local entity that has been established to deliver LNG-to-power energy solutions to the country,” it says.
- This article was originally published on Moneyweb and is used here with permission