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Karpowership: Game farm offer seems like roguery

In yet another twist in the two-year endeavour by the Turkish company Karpowership to supply power to South Africa, it has now offered to donate a game farm to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (formerly the provincial parks council).

The biggest hurdle that Karpowership needs to overcome is environmental approval. The company refers to it as “biodiversity offsetting”.

It seems highly irrelevant, seeing as environmental clearance for erecting a floating gas-fired power plant in the ecologically vulnerable maritime environment of Richards Bay is the main hurdle. To think that a game farm – which is, by definition, on land – could make up for it makes no ecological sense.

The unfathomable part of this offer is that both Karpowership and government have tried numerous times to push through this transaction, and that it no longer meets the definition of “emergency power”.

When it came up for the first time in 2021, the expectation was that it would start supplying power by August 2023.

But since then, ordinary South Africans (households and businesses) have installed solar power generating approximately 4 gigawatts. That is double the 2 gigawatts that all three Karpowerships in Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha Bay combined promise to supply.

Even if approval were granted today, it will still take an estimated two years to adapt the power grid so that these ships are able to supply power to consumers.

The exorbitantly high tariff and envisaged twenty-year contract were justified by claims that the powerships will rapidly alleviate the power crisis.

The FF Plus wants to know what supposed benefit is being pursued with the controversial Karpowerships deal, as it does not seem to be about an emergency supply of electricity.

South Africa deserves better – a government that takes power supply seriously.

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