Green Connection Calls on Minister Gwede Mantashe to Dump RMIPPPP

Following the announcement (09 September 2021) that DNG Energy’s request – to postpone court hearings into allegations of corruption in the Karpowerships project, to 30 November 2021 – has been accepted, The Green Connection believes that the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) has failed in its objective to get power onto the grid.

“We think the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) needs to scrap the RMIPPPP and rethink how to address the country’s energy shortage,” says the Green Connection’s Strategic Lead Liziwe McDaid.

She says, “What this latest development means is that South Africa has now spent more than a year trying to procure emergency power, with no result, and with no end in sight. The DMRE issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the RMIPPPP in August 2020, as a direct response to the short-term electricity supply gap, as identified in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 (IRP 2019). The objective of the RMIPPPP is not only to alleviate the current electricity supply constraints but also to reduce the utilisation of diesel-based peaking electrical generators.”

However, the programme has been delayed from its inception. The initial bid date was extended to 20 December 2020 and although the winning bids were announced in March 2021 the results were immediately questioned by experts.  This latest incident is just further evidence of how the RMIPPPP has been mired in controversy from the start.

Karpowerships SA won the right to deliver 1220MW of the 1845 MW sought by the RMIPPPP, which then raised the problem of the DMRE having to promote more fossil fuels, which is opposite of what is required to address climate change. Another issue is the idea that these floating power stations would be procured as ‘emergency’, short -term power, but would be around for 20 years – and without knowing the true impacts to our oceans.

“Adding to the controversy is the fact that there was no certainty regarding energy costs as the prices on the electricity generated were purportedly linked to the dollar/rand exchange rate.,” says McDaid.

The Green Connection had attempted to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), but contended that it was flawed as a process, since it failed to consider the impacts of twenty years of underwater noise on marine life, and the knock-on effects of how this might undermine the livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities in the affected areas.

“The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) ruled against Karpowerships, which meant that they did not have an environmental authorisation in time for the financial closure deadline of July 2020.  DMRE came to the rescue in that it extended the supposed non-negotiable financial closure deadline to September 30th. However, here we are on September 9th facing more shenanigans and delays,” she adds.

“Karpowerships has no decision from the Minister of Environment on its appeal against the DFFE’s refusal to grant them environmental authorisation, it has no Electricity Generation Licence from NERSA, there is a parliamentary inquiry pending, and there are two potential court cases pending. The Green Connection and Civil society are willing to help the DMRE to discuss the best climate friendly and people friendly solutions,” concludes McDaid.

For more information about The Green Connection’s Who Stole Our Oceans campaign opposing oil and gas exploration on South Africa’s coast to protect the ocean for our future, go to www.thegreenconnection.org.za or follow us on the socials: Facebook and Twitter.

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