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Environment Dpt sinks controversial Karpowership deal, can it still go ahead?

24 June 2021 7:49 PM
Tags:
Eskom
Load shedding
The Money Show
Barbara Creecy
Bruce Whitfield
Electricity supply
Environmental impact assessment
amaBhungane
SUSAN COMRIE
power generation
Department of Mineral Resources and Energy
environmental impact
Karpowership
Karpowership SA
Powerships
emergency electricity
Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment
DMRE

The Money Show talks to investigative journalist Susan Comrie (amaBhungane) about the opposing views of two different departments.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has refused environmental approvals for Turkey's Karpowership to go ahead with three gas-to-power projects in South Africa.

Environmental groups had strongly objected to the proposal to buy emergency electricity from floating gas-fired powerships.

The projects were earmarked for the ports of Saldanha Bay, Richards Bay and Ngqura.


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'Creecy has final say on Karpowership deal after enviro assessors give go-ahead'

Karpowerships: 'Almost as if there are powerful friends giving a helping hand'


Image courtesy of Sumbebekos (Wikimedia Commons).

The Department of the Environment reached its decision after considering "all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process".

"The applications came as a response to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s [DMRE] requests for emergency power supply interventions linked to the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Procurement Program.

Does this mean battle lines are being drawn between this Department and the DMRE?

Bruce Whitfield interviews investigative journo Susan Comrie from the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Normally when you have the DRME coming up against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment we've got a pretty good idea who normally wins that battle.

Susan Comrie, Journalist - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

In this case, although Karpowerships were granted this preferred bidder status for the tender in March, they still had to get environmental permits. What the Department has effectively said is: We just don't feel comfortable that these projects are going to be sustainable and not cause massive harm to the environment.

Susan Comrie, Journalist - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

Does this mean the Karpowership deal is dead in the water?

Comrie feels that's the case, although she notes that there is the option of an appeal.

They'd have to appeal internally using the Department's internal appeal mechanism and I just don't see them being able to get that right before the deadline for when they have to reach financial codes... at the end of July.

Susan Comrie, Journalist - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

Crucially, when they were awarded this preferred bidder status, they didn't have environmental permits in place. They were gambling they could get them done in time and it seems like the Department has said 'no'.

Susan Comrie, Journalist - amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

Listen to Comrie's take on The Money Show:




24 June 2021 7:49 PM
Tags:
Eskom
Load shedding
The Money Show
Barbara Creecy
Bruce Whitfield
Electricity supply
Environmental impact assessment
amaBhungane
SUSAN COMRIE
power generation
Department of Mineral Resources and Energy
environmental impact
Karpowership
Karpowership SA
Powerships
emergency electricity
Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment
DMRE

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