Eskom deals blow to Karpowership


Eskom will no longer reserve the transmission capacity it had agreed to set aside for Karpowership and other winners of a South African tender for emergency power provision that didn’t meet a 31 December 2023 deadline to complete their financial arrangements.

The decision, which Eskom disclosed in response to a query from Bloomberg, is a blow for Karpowership, the Turkish provider of ship-mounted power plants, and further reduces the likely impact the 2021 program will have in making a dent in the almost daily power outages that are crippling South Africa’s economy.

Only a fifth of the 2,000 megawatts of power generation capacity awarded is being built after a number of the 11 successful projects failed to reach so-called financial close.

Karpowership’s three gas-fired projects, which have been beset by lawsuits and challenges from environmentalists, account for 1,220 megawatts of the total and are yet to reach financial close.

“Eskom finds the expiration of the budget quotes regrettable as these projects were aimed at bringing much-needed generation capacity to the grid,” the utility said late on Friday. The projects were initially given a financial close deadline of July 31, 2021.

Eskom’s decision means that the transmission capacity, which is in short supply in South Africa, can now be awarded to other projects, and those of Karpowership and the other bidders are no longer guaranteed access if they proceed.

The other projects that have had their access rights revoked are a 200 megawatt gas-to-power plant at the port of Coega that was initially proposed by Mulilo Energy Holdings Ltd. and TotalEnergies SE and a 180 megawatt solar power plant that had been planned by Mulilo, Eskom said.

Scatec ASA was the first winner to announce that it had reached financial close and is proceeding with three solar power projects to supply 150 megawatts.

Karpowership didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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