WORLD / AFRICA
South Africa approves controversial power plants
Published: Sep 22, 2021 05:53 PM
Photo taken on Aug. 28, 2021 shows snow-capped mountains in Western Cape Province, South Africa.(Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Aug. 28, 2021 shows snow-capped mountains in Western Cape Province, South Africa.(Photo: Xinhua)


South Africa's energy regulator on Tuesday approved generating licenses for three controversial floating power plants, stoking environmental concerns as Africa's most industrialized nation grapples with electricity shortages.

Turkey-based Karpowership, one of the world's largest floating power plant operators, in March won a government tender to supplement South Africa's fragile electricity supply with gas-to-power projects at three ports.

But the environment ministry subsequently blocked Karpowership's permit application over concerns about the environmental impact. 

The company appealed the decision and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa signaled its approval on Tuesday in a statement listing seven preferred bidders for the country's Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Program.

Reasons for the approval have not yet been given. 

Environmental groups have raised concern about the Karpowership plants, which require fuel to convert liquefied natural gas into electricity.

Opponents note the project will generate several million tons of carbon dioxide in a country that was already the world's 12th-largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2019, according to Global Carbon Atlas.

Greenpeace Africa said it was "disappointed by the inexplicable decision to grant authorization for this destructive and costly project."

Rolling power cuts have been recurring for over a decade, stifling economic activity and investment.

AFP
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