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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Pollution & Climate Change

The Karpowership SA Gas to Power Projects

In this matter, groundWork is challenging the numerous licences applied for by Karpowership SA (Pty) Ltd to generate electricity from gas using the Turkish owned powerships, which will be moored in the ports of Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha Bay.  Karpowership also proposes to construct the necessary supporting structures and facilities to connect to the grid in these three ports.  Each of the ports have sensitive surroundings such as estuaries, mangroves, seagrass and reefs which all serve as nurseries for fish and crustaceans. If these ecosystems are impacted it may endanger the livelihood for local fishers and/or mariculture in the various areas.

The three powerships will also emit a potent greenhouse gas in the form of methane, which has a global warming potential of 84-86 times than that of carbon dioxide over 20 years. All three powerships will emit an enormous amount of over 46 million tC02e GHG over the projects’ 20-year lifespan, taking up over 1.18% of SA’s national carbon budget at a time, when the world needs to reduce its emissions radically in order to reduce the harmful impacts of climate change.

The Department of Fisheries Forestry and the Environment refused the Environmental Authorisation on the basis of lack of information to reach a decision. Karpowership has appealed the decision and groundWork is responding to this appeal.

Karpowership has also applied for an electricity generation licence, which groundWork is objecting to.

Environmental Authorisation: Internal Appeal by Karpowership (Pty) Ltd and Responding Statements

NERSA Proceedings

Applications by Karpowership to NERSA for Licences to Operate Natural Gas Fueled Combined Cycle Thermal Facilities:

Objections to Karpowership’s NERSA application by groundWork:

Judicial review proceedings against the NERSA licences issued to Karpowership

In April 2022, The Green Connection launched judicial review proceedings to set aside the licences issued to Karpowership by NERSA. The court papers can be downloaded here.

In April 2022, the Organisational against Tax Abuse (OUTA) also launched judicial review proceedings against the licences issued to Karpowership by NERSA. Here are the court papers in that case:

OUTA’s papers
OUTA’s notice of motion is here.
The founding affidavit by Adv Stefanie Fick is here.
The annexures are here: Annex FA1Annex FA2-4Annex 5Annex 6Annex 7-11Annex 12-14Annex 15-17Annex 18.

18 May 2022: NERSA notice of intention to oppose OUTA’s application is here.
20 May 2022: Eskom files notice of intention to abide by the decision of the high court. However, Eskom reserves its right to oppose this application at any stage. This notice is here.
20 May 2022: The Karpowership independent power producers (respondents 2 to 5) file a joint notice to oppose OUTA’s application. This notice is here.

Getting copies of documents for the case
28 April 2022: OUTA’s notice of motion in the application of 28 April 2022 called for NERSA to provide within 15 days copies of all documents relating to the decisions to grant Karpowership the generation licences, together with the reasons for the decisions.
17 June 2022: NERSA provides a redacted record.
12 December 2022: OUTA files a notice in terms of Rule 30A calling on NERSA to produce the full record of its decision in terms of Rule 53. A copy of the notice can be found here.