General News

Consortium to appeal denial of Karpowership’s environmental permits




by Lisa Steyn

07 July 2021

Original article here

The Integrated Coastal Energy Alliance (ICEA) — a consortium of business associations in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape — will appeal the government’s decision to deny environmental authorisations for Karpowership.

Karpowership, majority-owned by Turkey’s Karadeniz Energy Group, was in April announced as a winning bidder of the government’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. The programme was established to swiftly procure 2000MW of emergency power — which is expected to be available by August 2022, in a bid to alleviate SA’s crippling electricity shortage.

Karpowership was awarded three bids for its floating LNG-fired power plants moored at the port of Ngqura, Richards Bay and Saldhana Bay to produce more than 1200MW of power for use in the national grid.

Last month, however, the department of environmental affairs, Forestry and Fisheries rejected Karpowership’s application for environmental authorisation to operate at all three ports.

Karpowership SA noted its intention to appeal the decision.

On Wednesday the ICEA said it will independently also appeal the department’s decision. The ICEA comprises the West Coast Black Business Alliance (WCBBA), the Eastern Cape Maritime Business Chamber (ECMBC); and the Nelson Mandela Bay arm of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc).

Each of its members would appeal the department’s decision, the ICEA said.

Sammy Claasen of the WCBA said the debate on powerships had been one-sided and overwhelmingly negative.

“We can’t allow a situation where environmentalists bully us out of opportunities; opportunities for small business and opportunities to stabilise the national grid and assist to get economy back on track.”

Environmentalists lobbying against the powerships failed to balance environmental concerns with socio-economic ones, Claasen said. Meanwhile “rural black and township communities have been excluded from this debate for too long … we want to neutralise negative spin”, he said.

Unathi Sonti of the ECMBC said the department ought to have engaged with Karpowership on the flaws in its application rather than rejecting it outright.

Asked whether it had formally appealed the department’s decision, Karpowership on Wednesday told Business Day it is “following due process” in its response.

The winning bidders are required to reach financial close by the end of July, which requires the issuing of all relevant permits and authorisations. Mineral Resources and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has said the deadline won’t be extended.

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