The controversy ridden Karpowership energy generation plan has been dealt another blow, with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment deciding not to give the plan the relevant environmental authorisations.
Minister Barbara Creecy’s department confirmed the decision in a statement issued on Thursday.
“The competent authority in the department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment [EIA] process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations,” it said in the statement.
Turkish-linked Karpowership SA (Pty) Ltd submitted its application for environmental authorisation for its gas-to-power “powerships” to the department in October last year.
The company was announced as one of South Africa’s new emergency IPP deals by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, which is headed by Minister Gwede Mantashe, earlier this year in March.
While Creecy’s department has refused environmental authorisation of Karpowership’s plan, this decision can be appealed by the company or any other interested party.
“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 Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment noted in its statement regarding its EIA rejection of the plan.
“The powerships were to be assembled off-site and be delivered fully equipped and functional to the different ports. The above mentioned 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 Programme,” it added.
Creecy’s department further pointed out that “the competent authority” in the department had 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 April 26, 2021. The competent authority had until June 25, 2021 to reach a decision, as the three projects were classified as strategic integrated projects, which meant the 57 day timeframe, as gazetted in the National Infrastructure Act, applied,” it said.
The department added that copies of the records of refusal are available directly from Triplo4 or the competent authority at EIAadmin@environment.gov.za.
“Should any person wish to lodge an appeal against the decision, he/she must submit the appeal to the appeal administrator,” the department noted.