Karpowership lands three generating licences — Outa demands answers

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has granted three generating licences for Turkish powership supplier Karpowership, News24 reported.

Karpowership still needs to obtain permission from the Department of Environmental Affairs and could undergo an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) before it is permitted to moor its ships and link to the grid.

Nersa is yet to release its reasoning for the approval of the generation licences in full.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it wants to know Nersa’s reasons for granting licences to Karpowership.

“The public has a right to know why these decisions are made. These reasons are also required if the decisions are to be challenged in court,” says Liz McDaid, Outa Parliamentary and Energy Advisor.

“This lack of transparency has been an ongoing problem in this process.”

Outa said it finds the approval of the Karpowership licences by Nersa inexplicable while there are so many questions over the process.

Powership feed into grid
Powership feed into the grid

The ships would be anchored at Saldanha Bay, Coega, and Richards Bay, and once connected, will supply approximately 1,200MW of power to South Africa’s strained grid.

In July, energy minister Gwede Matashe mysteriously granted Karpowership a two-month extension on the financial close deadline — a deadline he had previously said was non-negotiable.

“Due to the urgency to bring power online, this date is not negotiable. It is for the preferred bidders to manage all the risks to reach financial close,” Mantashe had said.

Responding to questions from the Daily Maverick, the department confirmed that the deadline for Karpowership to reach financial close — which was previously scheduled for the end of July — had been extended to 30 September.

The extension was granted despite a report indicating that the Green Scorpions had suggested criminal charges be laid against the company for purposefully misleading the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment.

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Karpowership lands three generating licences — Outa demands answers