Still some way to go for R6bn Karpowership deal, but must dock by 2025

Picture: Karpowership website

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The Citizen

Karpowership still has some hurdles to hop over to meet conditions of authorisation.

Controversial energy producer Karpowership has been granted environmental authorisation for the development of a 450MW gas to electricity power plant, but still has some hoops to jump through.

The R6 billion project is earmarked for the Port of Richards Bay, with construction required to conclude within two years of granting the environmental permit. 

While Karpowership said the next step would entail finalising agreements with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), an approval notice seen by The Citizen stipulates the company must conduct a 12-month pre-construction environmental observation. 

Long road ahead

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment identified critical biodiversity areas in the project.

Karpowership’s construction site is located less than a kilometre away from the Richards Bay Nature Reserve and 10 kilometres from the Enseleni Nature Reserve.

This requires careful observation and planning to minimise impact, especially since the gas pipeline will contain about 30 to 80 cubic metres of LNG at any given time. 

Karpowership is set to clear at least one hectare of indigenous vegetation to make way for a switching station and temporary construction facilities.

Built on shore, the switching station will serve as a connection point between the Powership and Eskom’s national grid.

The environmental permit also requires Karpowership to development facilities for the storage and handling of dangerous goods.

Another notable task ahead entails developing infrastructure for the bulk transportation of gas through pipelines which can deliver a throughput capacity of more than 700 tons daily. 

Karpowership is required to meet conditions within two years of issuing of authorisation. 

“If the commencement of the activity doesn’t occur within that period, the authorisation lapses,” it noted, further stipulating that a new application would have to be made.

Welcoming the green light

Karpowership SA welcomed the environmental authorisation, adding R6 billion has been set aside for the project.

“Karpowership SA is proud to be able to play a significant role with its state-of-the-art LNG to Power technology in Richards Bay, assisting South Africa in achieving its net-zero targets,” it told The Citizen.

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