DFFE finalises decision on Karpowership environmental impact assessments applications

24 June 2021


The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has reached a decision on the three applications which were submitted in October 2020 by Karpowership SA (Pty) Ltd for an environmental authorisation for the development of gas to power via powerships.

The competent authority in the department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations.

The applicant had proposed to locate the three powership projects at the ports of Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha to generate electricity from natural gas to be evacuated through transmission lines to substations linking to the national grid. The powerships were to be assembled off-site and be delivered fully equipped and functional to the different ports.

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

The competent authority in the department adjudicated these applications in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and specific sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

The final reports were submitted to the department for decision-making on 26 April 2021.

The competent authority had until 25 June 2021 to reach a decision, as the three projects were classified as strategic integrated projects, which meant the fifty-seven (57) day timeframe, as gazetted in the National Infrastructure Act, applied.

Copies of the records of refusal are available as follows: 

Should any person wish to lodge an appeal against the decision, he/she must submit the appeal to the appeal administrator.

For media inquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871

Note to editors

The department received written notice on 31 May 2021 from “The Green Connection”, alleging suspected non-compliance with regulation 13 of the EIA Regulations, in relation to the Saldanha application, by the appointed environmental assessment practitioner (EAP). In this regard, the competent authority exercised its discretionary power and suspended the said application with a view to look at the veracity of the allegations. Whilst investigating the allegations, the competent authority realised that it has sufficient information as part of the final environmental assessment report to make an informed decision on the application, which led to a decision by the competent authority to lift the suspension. 

There were similar allegations, requesting for the suspension of the other two applications that were received by the competent authority, from the Centre for Environmental Rights. The competent authority has decided that whilst there is merit to investigate these allegations, it has adequate information at its disposal to make an informed decision and therefore decided against suspending these applications.