The National Energy Regulator for South Africa (NERSA) has announced the approval of three power generation licenses for Turkish floating powership subsidiary Karpowership SA.
According to Media24, NERSA took the decision after a special meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The power regulator approved generation licenses for Karpowership SA to operate off the coast of Saldanha Bay, Coega, and Richards Bay, but the firm still requires a bevy of authorisations before it moors its ships at the three ports and officially begins providing power to the grid.
Generation licenses for four other private energy producers were also approved by NERSA in a bid to fast-track new energy production in South Africa and bolster Eskom’s vulnerable grid.
NERSA has not yet divulged its reasons for the decision in full, but President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has been recently pushing for a stronger power grid in SA, which the President himself has said is vital for continued economic growth.
“There is no doubt that the prospect of a continued energy shortfall and further load-shedding presents a massive risk to our economy,” Ramaphosa said.
Karpowership SA Environmental Bid Scrapped
In June, SA’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment scrapped Karpowership SA’s bid for environmental permits.
“The Competent Authority in the Department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information … to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations,” the environment department said in a statement at the time.
Karpowership in response said they would begin an appeal process, with a spokesperson saying, “Karpowership SA conducted a robust public participation process, met all South Africa’s stringent environmental requirements, and is confident that it will win the appeal.”
Environmental groups in the country welcomed the decision to refuse approvals.
What are Powerships?
Imagine them as small, privately-owned floating power stations that moor off the coast of a country and generate backup power.
They are designed to supply power 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The electrical supply is managed on-board, with a sophisticated control room that matches the control facilities of any high-end modern land-based power station.
It has been claimed that few ships off the coast of South Africa could effectively eliminate the need for load-shedding.