Mon, 27 Sep 2021

  • The debacle surrounding South Africa's bid to secure emergency power supplies looks set to extend load shedding.
  • A losing bidder is alleging that the selection process was corrupt, and taking legal action.
  • The problems will alienate potential bidders, says Business Unity SA.

Delays to the projects, which now appear to be almost inevitable, will extend debilitating energy shortages that President Cyril Ramaphosa said are a "massive risk" for the economy, and further damage South Africa's reputation as a feasible place to do business. In addition to Turkey's Karpowership, which is in line to supply 1 220 MW of power, some of the world's leading energy companies - TotalEnergies SE, Electricite de France SA, Scatec ASA and ACWA Power - are involved in the bids.

Ramaphosa took a major step toward alleviating the crisis last week, announcing that companies will be allowed to build their own power plants with up to 100 MW of generating capacity without requiring a licence. While the decision was taken in the face of opposition from Gwede Mantashe, his energy minister, and will effectively break Eskom's monopoly, it won't provide immediate relief.

And The Green Connection, a non-profit, has complained to the environment department that mooring Karpowership's power plant in Saldanha Bay would disturb sea life and fishing. The department has frozen the company's application for environmental approval in that location while the allegations are investigated.

"Everyone is in the same position of: 'Is this going to jeopardise or delay?'" he said in an interview. "And I can't answer that."

Source: News24

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