In an effort to tackle South Africa’s ongoing power crisis, the transport ministry announced on Thursday that Turkey’s Karpowership has been granted access to Ngqura, Durban, and Saldanha Bay ports for a duration of 20 years. Karpowership’s innovative plan involves generating power on specialized floating gas ships and distributing it through the national electricity grid.
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his support for the initiative, emphasizing that the deployment of these ships would alleviate the long-standing power shortage that has plagued the country. South Africa’s government had previously awarded Karpowership the majority share of a 2,000-megawatt emergency power tender in 2021 to help generate electricity, despite facing opposition from environmental activists and local fishermen.
The transport ministry’s approval for Karpowership’s application, which was endorsed by the minister in consultation with Transnet National Ports Authority on February 26, marks a significant milestone. However, some opposition parties have raised concerns over the 20-year contract, questioning its suitability for an emergency power supply. They argue that Karpowership’s contracts in other countries, such as Ghana and Brazil, have not been of such lengthy durations.
South Africa’s state power utility, Eskom, issued a warning earlier on Thursday, alerting the nation to brace for increased power cuts during the winter months due to heightened demand. The country’s GDP has already suffered as a result of frequent daily power outages lasting over 10 hours, stemming from insufficient investments and aging coal-fired power plants that frequently experience breakdowns.
By granting the 20-year deal to Karpowership, South Africa aims to mitigate its chronic energy woes and revitalize its industrialized economy.