How Powerships can solve South Africa’s electricity problems

Turkish company Karadeniz Energy Group is confident that it can help solve South Africa’s power problems by supplying its Powerships to Eskom.

Karadeniz told MyBroadband that Powerships are a medium-term bridging solution to South Africa’s current energy challenges.

“They will provide the economy with much-needed energy while providing Eskom with the space and time it needs to run important maintenance work on its existing coal fleet and complete its pipeline of new build projects,” the company said.

Karadeniz said it made presentations to various authorities and participated in several conferences where it wanted to showcase its offering to both the government and the South African public.

“We are interested in engaging further with the relevant authorities as we believe we have a solution that can save the country money while providing critical baseload power,” said Karadeniz.

Two of the ships will soon supply Ghana with 450MW of power after a deal was signed between the country and Karpowership, a subsidiary of the Karadeniz Energy Group.

Karpowership sales director Patrick O’Driscoll said they can solve South Africa’s power crisis through a deal like Ghana’s.

Quick deployment of Powerships

O’Driscoll said their Powerships can easily fit in with Eskom’s current independent power producer programme.

Another benefit is how quickly the ships can be available. The company told MyBroadband that, subject to agreement with the relevant authorities, it could have 500MW installed by Q1 2016 and over 2000MW by early 2017.

Powerships are delivered as a complete power plant ready to operate immediately, aimed at providing medium-term solutions with contracts of 2 to 5 years.

“With high efficiency and availability, Powerships can provide uninterrupted electricity at various high voltage levels.”

Karadeniz powership
Karadeniz powership

Cheaper and better than Eskom’s diesel generators

The company said its Powerships can operate on liquid fuels (HFO/RFO) or natural gas.

The fact that Powerships can operate on heavy fuel oil is an advantage. Heavy fuel oil is cheaper than the diesel fuel Eskom uses to power its aging open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs).

The Powerships are also designed to operate continuously, unlike Eskom’s OCGTs which should only operate for short periods.

O’Driscoll told the Financial Mail that, by burning heavy fuel oil, their Powerships can produce electricity for less than US12c per kWh (around R1.50 per kWh).

This is significantly lower than what Eskom is spending by burning diesel in its OCGTs, which O’Driscoll said it around US30c per kWh (around R3.74 per kWh).

He said he can save Eskom at least $400 million to $500 million per year (R5 billion) by using four 500MW Powerships to provide the utility with 2,000MW of electricity.

The benefits of Karadeniz powerships Vs Eskom open cycle turbines
The benefits of Karadeniz powerships vs Eskom open cycle turbines

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How Powerships can solve South Africa’s electricity problems