The Black Business Council (BBC) and the Black Business Council in the Built Environment (BBCBE) yesterday congratulated the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) on the decision to grant environmental authorisation for the Karpowership SA gas-to-power projects at Richards Bay, and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape.
The project to generate up to 450 megawatts for the Eskom grid has faced criticism from environmental organisations such as groundWork and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance.
“There is no doubt that the department, as the competent authority, has applied its mind and assessed all the submissions to grant these authorisations. Both of our organisations, therefore, support the minister and the department on granting these authorisation decisions,” a statement from the BBC and BBCBE said yesterday.
“We are expecting some internationally supported and financed lobby groups to lodge appeals. We are not ignorant of the agenda of these organisations to contribute to the instability of South Africa by delaying projects that would provide a resolution to the energy crisis and address the country’s socio-economic challenges,” the organisations said.
“All we can say in this regard is that we are not ignorant of who is driving and funding this instability. We do, however, believe that the department, as the competent authority, has the necessary provisions through NEMA to allow the project to continue even when the appeals are lodged, and we urge the department to be bold and to apply this provision,” the organisations said.
They said the whole country was tired of load shedding and load curtailment.
“All efforts should be made to ensure that this challenge is addressed with what is available. We need to balance energy security with an integrated approach in mind, which is combining gas-to-power alongside renewables,” it said.
“The DFFE must, therefore, make speedy decisions on the remaining project at the Port of Ngqura, so that it can be added to our energy grid as soon as is practically possible.”
“We hope that the issue at the Port of Ngqura has been resolved and that the necessary support has been given for the submission to the DFFE. We will hold our government and state-owned entities accountable if the reasons they provide lead to delays in the implementation of these key projects.”
Karpowership SA said previously that its parent, Karadeniz Holdings, had made a significant investment to be part of South Africa’s energy solution, with the purpose to stabilise supply, and decrease load shedding by one full stage. It said that since participating in South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), the company had held high standards of governance including the country’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) adaptation.