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South Africa: ‘Add Those Megawatts’ – Ramaphosa Backs Karpowership and Slowing Down Coal Power Plant Decommissioning

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has signalled his support for the controversial Karpowership emergency power deal, saying that was ‘the way to go right now to add those megawatts’. He was speaking at his parliamentary question session on Thursday.

The 1,220MW emergency procurement from Karpowership has been stalled for the past three years by legal action, tender irregularities and appeals by activists over environmental approvals.

The Turkish company, which runs powerships off Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ghana and elsewhere, clinched a 20-year deal following the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s December 2019 call for 2,000MW of emergency power.

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa touted powerships – without expressly naming Karpowership – as a solution to South Africa’s rolling power cuts that leave homes and businesses without electricity for up to 10 hours a day.

“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.

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

Ramaphosa seemed to blame non-government organisations and others, such as activists who successfully lodged environmental appeals.

In April 2022, lobby group Outa took legal action against the National Energy…

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