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.


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.