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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Powerships get Ramaphosa’s approval, but an expert says they’re ‘expensive and harmful’

Turkish company Karpowership is a contender and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been a vocal supporter of the concept.


The ANC looks closer to getting its way, using powerships to alleviate load shedding, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s endorsement of the idea this week. But an energy expert says it is environmentally bad and hugely expensive. In his response to questions from parliament on the country’s energy crisis, Ramaphosa said: “I still say today what South Africa needs right now is emergency energy … Other countries have done so. And I have been to a few countries on our continent, they have done so. They have brought in ships that are able to generate energy and immediately solved their energy…

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The ANC looks closer to getting its way, using powerships to alleviate load shedding, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s endorsement of the idea this week.

But an energy expert says it is environmentally bad and hugely expensive.

In his response to questions from parliament on the country’s energy crisis, Ramaphosa said: “I still say today what South Africa needs right now is emergency energy … Other countries have done so. And I have been to a few countries on our continent, they have done so. They have brought in ships that are able to generate energy and immediately solved their energy problems and challenges.

ALSO READ: Business groups ‘strongly’ oppose department’s move to block Karpowerships

“And I do believe that is the way to go right now, to add those megawatts that we don’t have…”

Turkish company Karpowership is a contender and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been a vocal supporter of the concept.

Powerships ‘not quick solution’

However, energy expert Chris Yelland said the proposal was “not a quick solution at all”.

“The quick solution is delivering 10 000MW in renewable energy plus 3 000MW of battery storage in the next six to 12 months … and it is environmentally friendly.”

Powerships were not the solution because there was no environmental or port authorisation, nor a power agreement with Eskom.

ALSO READ: Environmental affairs blocks Karpowership’s ‘toxic’ advances

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa yesterday gave an update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan and said the grid would not collapse.

“Load shedding is meant to protect the grid,” he said. “The worst-case scenario is load shedding could go past stage 6.”

Minister’s hands ‘tied’

Political analyst Piet Croucamp, who hosted a panel discussion on the minister’s first 100 days in office, said Ramokgopa’s hands were tied.

“He can’t do anything until he is granted authority to act. It seems he tends to lean toward powerships.”

ALSO READ: Consumers to pay for power ships, but no one knows how much

The questions, he said, were what the long-term plan was, what would become of the power stations when their life spans had ended and what to do about the growing electricity demand.

“He will not answer now because he does not have the authority to do anything about it now,” he said.

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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