The DFFE (Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment) has announced that the Turkish-led Karpowership SA consortium was denied the permits to proceed with what would have been a devastating deal for South Africa. This is thanks in large part to the investigative work of local media (Daily Maverick and amaBhungane) that started more than a year ago and brought the dodgy deal to light.
This is the DFFE press release:
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has reached a decision on the three applications which were submitted in October 2020 by Karpowership SA (Pty) Ltd for an environmental authorisation for the development of gas to power via powerships.
The competent authority in the department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations.
The applicant had proposed to locate the three powership projects at the ports of Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha to generate electricity from natural gas to be evacuated through transmission lines to substations linking to the national grid. The powerships were to be assembled off-site and be delivered fully equipped and functional to the different ports.
The abovementioned applications came as a response to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s requests for emergency power supply interventions linked to the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Procurement Program.
The competent authority in the department adjudicated these applications in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and specific sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
The final reports were submitted to the department for decision-making on 26 April 2021.
The competent authority had until 25 June 2021 to reach a decision, as the three projects were classified as strategic integrated projects, which meant the fifty-seven (57) day timeframe, as gazetted in the National Infrastructure Act, applied.
Copies of the records of refusal are available as follows:
- Application for environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, Act No. 107 Of 1998, as amended: For the gas to power Via Powership Project at Port of Saldanha within the Saldanha Bay Local Municipality in the Western Cape Province.
- Application for environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, Act No. 107 Of 1998, as amended: At the Port of Richards Bay within the Umhlathuze Local Municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
- Application for environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, Act No. 107 Of 1998, as amended: For the gas to power Via Powership Project at Port of Ngqura within the Coega Sez in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province.
Should any person wish to lodge an appeal against the decision, he/she must submit the appeal to the appeal administrator.