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Karpowership to Push Ahead With Two South African Power Plants

Karpowership to Push Ahead With Two South African Power Plants
The Turkish floating power plant Osman Khan in the Ghanaian port of Sekondi Takoradi. (Image: Karpowership)

Karpowership will push ahead with bids to secure environmental approval to install two ship-mounted power plants in South African ports.

South African Environment Minister Barbara Creecy dismissed appeals from five environmental groups that sought to block the company from applying for the approval to install a 450-megawatt gas-fired facility at the port of Richards Bay on the northeast coast, according to a ruling seen by Bloomberg. In a separate decision, she allowed Karpowership to pursue environmental approval at Saldanha on the west coast, overturning an earlier decision by her department to deny permission for a 320-megawatt operation.

The rulings are the latest twist in a saga that has seen the Turkish firm’s projects repeatedly delayed by a court case and environmental challenges. It’s also a boost to the government’s attempts to increase power generation amid persistent blackouts that are stifling economic growth and souring the mood of voters ahead of elections next year.

Karpowership has been working on three projects since winning about 60% of a state tender in March 2021 for 2,000 megawatts of emergency electricity to ease the crisis. A plan to produce 450 megawatts at Port of Ngqura will be delayed over a disagreement with the national port operator over the location of the power ship.

The decisions are “a significant boost towards the finalization of Karpowership’s” projects, the company said in an email.

The delay at Ngqura, due to the need to find a new location at the harbor for the ship to moor, could be as long as 12 to 18 months, it said.

Read More on Karpowership in South Africa:

Karpowership will still need to get final environmental approval, sign a power-purchase agreement with national power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and renew its right to access the national grid, which expires at the end of this month.

It may also have to renegotiate the duration of the deal with the government. While it was awarded a 20-year contract, South African politicians including the electricity minister have now said they want a shorter agreement.

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