Karpowership wins battle to refile application

Karpowership secured permission from South Africa’s environment department to refile an application to moor a ship-mounted power plant in the eastern port of Richards Bay as the company’s stalled plans to affect a 1,220-megawatt electricity supply contract regains momentum.

The Turkish company withdrew its submission to deploy the 450-megawatt plant earlier this year after it faced a complaint that it hadn’t notified a competitor, which had its own plans for the port.

On Wednesday, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment dismissed a complaint by a nonprofit against Karpowership’s plan to moor a similar plant at Saldanha on South Africa’s west coast.

The department gave notice of its decision on the Richards Bay plant in a letter written Thursday to Triplo4 Sustainable Solutions, Karpowership’s environmental consultants, which was sent to Bloomberg. Public comment must be sought on the impact of the project for at least 30 days, the department said.

While Karpowership won a government tender in March 2021 to provide electricity from ships in those two ports as well as one at Coega in the Eastern Cape province, its plans have been mired in lawsuits and environmental challenges.

In March, its Coega project application was rejected because the national port operator wanted to use the mooring site. The Saldanha operations was set back by a complaint from the Green Connection that it had allegedly misrepresented small-scale fishermen, while the Richards Bay submission was withdrawn.

The condonation effectively gives Karpowership 60 days to refile an application that includes an environmental management program for the Richards Bay operations and a submission on how it sets up its plants to mitigate environmental effects, known as a generic EMPR.

Condonation is also being sought to refile documents for the Saldanha project to include the generic EMPR.


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