Karpowership

2021

Karpower has applied to moor power ships in our waters for twenty years.

Coastal communities in Saldanha, Gqberha working with the Green Connection attempted to participate in the EIA.  The Green Connection believed that the process was so flawed that we put in a complaint to the DFFE.  Communities did not feel that they had been meaningfully consulted and said so in their submissions to the Karpower EIA. 

On the 24th of June 2021, the DFFE suspended the EIA pending the investigation of the GC complaint.   The DFFE lifted the suspension on the EIA process, and soon thereafter refused environmental authorisation to Karpowerships. Karpower opted to appeal the DFFE decisions and the Green Connection and other coastal communities and NGO’s  Centre of Environmental Rights responded to the karpower appeal.  We are now waiting for the minister of environment to make her decision.

Karpowerships applied to the national energy regulator for a license to generate electricity.  

Electricity Generation License

The Green Connection submitted written comments and made oral presentations at the public hearings. This electricity generation license has since been granted. The Green Connection has requested reasons from NERSA, and has been advised that reasons will be provided once the ‘confidentiality process’ with Karpowerships has been concluded. On the 29th of October 2021, NERSA provided its reasons why they decided to grant Karpower their 3 generational licenses. Stating that IRP 2019 identified risks of loadshedding and there was a need to procure 2000 to 3000MW of energy.

2022

The Karpowerships received an exemption from having to follow the local content obligations – this exemption was only granted on 15 December. Interestingly, if the original deadline had not been extended, the karpowerships would have been excluded from proceeding in the bid process.  On the 15th of March 2022 the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) invited members of the public and stakeholders to make oral presentations online on various Karpowership licenses. We responded to NERSA’s attempt to sideline Karpower public participation process.

On the 25th of April 2022, the Green Connection launched an application in the Gauteng High court in Pretoria seeking to review and set aside the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa) decision to grant three electricity generation licenses to the Karpowership SA companies to operate powerships in the ports of Saldanha, Ngqura (Coega) and Richards Bay. Among other grounds of the review included in the application, the Green Connection takes issue with Nersa having granted the generation licenses even though the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) had refused to grant environmental authorisations for the powerships, and without Nersa taking environmental considerations into account. 

The same day (19 May 2022) the minister of Mineral Resources and Energy laid out the department’s uninspiring budget for 2022/23, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) notified The Green Connection that it will oppose the NGO’s court application to review and set aside the decision to grant three electricity generation licenses to Karpowership SA. Nersa approved the Karpower licences in September 2021, despite the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment’s (DFFE) refusal to grant environmental authorisation. Friday the 20th of May 22, Eskom sent notice that it will not oppose The Green Connection’s application and will abide by the decision of the court.

With legal action in progress against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), Karpowerships SA and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, The Green Connection says it is happy that no Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the companies were signed, today. The Green Connection’s Strategic Lead Liziwe McDaid says, “As the climate crisis intensifies, South Africa needs to make a transition to sustainable energy sources that do not emit greenhouse gases. While it is positive step to see the Minister sign the PPAs for more renewables, we need much more. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) still maintains a ceiling/limit on the amount of renewable energy that can be added to the grid. We need a revision of the IRP. With our climate goals in mind, Karpowerships do not make the grade. Read more.

Earlier this month (August), The Green Connection received correspondence from DFFE confirming that Karpowerships had failed in its appeal to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE). The Turkish company, which planned to supply additional power to South Africa via these floating kettles, was unable to overturn an earlier environmental ruling against its plans. Read more.

In the midst of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, small-scale fisherwomen from around the country not only have to deal with the gender-based violence issues that plague the women in the country, but they also have to fight to protect their livelihoods from the onslaught of proposed oil and gas projects. For nearly 2 years now (since around March 2021), small-scale fishers and coastal communities – threatened by the negative impacts of Karpowerships Read More.

2023

The recent regulation 13 complaint against environmental consultants Triplo4 – submitted by The Green Connection (on 6 March) to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE) – exposes a failure to ensure compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations regarding the Proposed Gas to Power Powership Project at the Port of Saldanha Bay.

This new red flag in the controversial Karpowerships deal specifically calls out the consultants for using information from aquaculture and commercial fisheries participants in a meeting called to engage small-scale fishers, as if it was valid information from the small-scale fisheries sector. Read More.

The Green Connection welcomes the decision by the Department of Fisheries, Forestry, and Environment (DFFE) to refuse the environmental authorisation was refused for the project in Coega Eastern Cape. This announcement, issued (10 March) by DFFE, comes after the welcome news last week from DFFE to suspend the application for environmental authorisation for Karpowerships in Saldanha Bay, pending an investigation into allegations of a failure to ensure compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations. Read More.

South Africans are reaching their breaking point with loadshedding and suffering its increasingly devastating impacts, leaving many wondering why there is such strong opposition to Karpowerships, especially since it is being touted as the silver bullet the country needs to solve the crisis. Read More.

With so many unanswered questions and unfulfilled requirements, The Green Connection is satisfied that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) decision to refuse Karpowership SA’s request for condonation and extension with regard to its application for Environmental Authorisation for the project in Saldanha Bay. The news about the DFFE’s decision in Saldanha came through on Tuesday 30 May, just as The Green Connection and others civil society organisations were making further enquiries, with a view to challenging any DFFE decision to give Karpowership yet another opportunity to amend their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports for Richards Bay

Karpowership withdrew their EIA report on 26 April 2023 and on the same date applied for condonation in an attempt to cure shortcomings. DFFE has confirmed, in a letter to The Green Connection, that the EIA application is now deemed withdrawn and the application is closed from the Department’s side. Read More.

“As an eco-justice organisation that works with the small-scale fishers who will be most affected by the presence of Karpowerships in the bay, The Green Connection is pleased that Karpower has received yet another refusal in Saldanha. However, while it is good news that the Department has refused to give Karpowership yet another bite at the cherry, Karpowership has submitted an appeal against the condonation refusal decision. We are studying the appeal and consulting with our legal team, with a view to submitting an appeal responding statement in due course.”
Neville Van Rooy

Karpowership SA’s controversial gas-to-power powership projects proposed for the ports of Saldanha and Ngqura suffered further setbacks recently. After being refused environmental authorisation in 2021, Karpowership appealed to environmental Minister Barbara Creecy. The Minister decided to remit the matters back to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries (DFFE) so that various gaps and defects could be addressed by Karpowership. Read More.

The Green Connection and Natural Justice are challenging the decision of Minister of the Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Barbara Creecy, to allow Karpowership to submit a Generic Environmental Management Programme (GEMPr) for Saldanha Bay. The organisations argue, in a letter to the DFFE, that the decision is unlawful. Read More. Following, Green Connection continues to voice its disappointment over the South African government’s ongoing support for Karpowerships, as well as its concerns over the environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes being undertaken. This comes as media reports that the Minister in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE) is “demanding” proof of expertise regarding Karpowerships’ gas explosion risk report in the Karpowership Coega (Ngqura) EIA appeal process. Read More.

Green Connection has submitted appeals on Karpowership Saldanha Bay in the hopes that Department of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs Minister Creecy will stand up for the environment and the people who depend on the coasts for their livelihoods.(

Electricity Generation License

This week The Green Connection submitted a replying affidavit to KarpowershipSA companies and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) opposing affidavits in The Green Connection’s application to compel the full record of decision. Read More.