• South Africa to engage ‘powerships’ to provide ‘emergency’ power for 20 years

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    • Post Author

      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

South Africa’s prolonged difficulties with power generation have taken a new twist, with the government considering the possibility of leasing ‘powerships’ to provide additional power to the grid. Such ships dock at ports for connection to the grid and for other services, and are essentially floating, mobile gas-fired power stations. Last month, it was announced that Turkey’s Karpowership was the preferred bidder to provide 1200 MW of power, the government also seeking another 600 MW of capacity.

Critics have said the powerships are an expensive and environmentally poor solution, while a rival company has filed a lawsuit over the tender for the powerships. However, with state-owned Eskom continuing to have to impose rolling power cuts, it appears the government sees little option but to use emergency power generation – though Tracey Davies, an executive at the environmentally conscious Just Share organisation, pointed out that the ‘emergency provision’ was contradictory with the service being contracted for 20 years. In engaging the powerships, South Africa will join Lebanon, Indonesia, Sudan, Ghana, Mozambique and other countries also forced into such contingencies.