Karpowership has agreed to buy and donate a game farm to a provincial wildlife authority in a bid to ease environmental approval for one of the three gas-fired power plants it wants to erect in South Africa.
In exchange for the game farm, the Turkish company said that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, which manages protected areas in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, has undertaken to not object to its plan for a 450 MW, ship-mounted power plant at Richards Bay harbour.
“The Port of Richards Bay presents a unique circumstance where the active industrial port, used largely for coal exports, operates within an estuarine bay,” Karpowership said in a statement sent to Bloomberg. “Biodiversity offsetting is a form of impact mitigation.”
The undertaking, which forms part of Karpowership’s submission for environmental approval of the plant, is the latest twist in a more than two-year saga in which the company has fought environmental objections and court cases opposing its plans.
Karpowership won about 60% of a government tender in March 2021 to supply 2,000 MW to ease chronic power shortages in the country.
While the initial target date for power production for Karpowership and other winners in the tender was August 2022, none of them are up and running yet.
Separately, Karpowership said that the environment department has now given it permission to continue with an appeal against a ruling that it couldn’t proceed with a plan to position a 450 MW plant at the southern port of Ngqura after a dispute with the national port operator over a mooring site.
In addition, the Turkish company plans a 320 MW plant at the western port of Saldanha.
Before proceeding with any of them, Karpowership will still need to get final environmental approval and sign a power-purchase agreement with national power utility Eskom.