MPs slam govt plan to buy emergency power from powerships

Energy Department officials on Tuesday briefed parliamentarians on efforts to bring independent power producers on board to help tap more power into the economy.

Image courtesy of Sumbebekos (Wikimedia Commons).

CAPE TOWN - Members of the Parliament have slammed a plan to buy emergency electricity from so-called power ships, with some calling it a “dirty option”.

Energy Department officials on Tuesday briefed parliamentarians on efforts to bring independent power producers on board to help tap more power into the economy.

In March, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation IPP procurement programme.

He said that this was to alleviate electricity supply constraints and to reduce the extensive use of diesel.

One of the bidders was Karpowership - the world's largest floating power plant.

But Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Kevin Mileham said that this option was bad for the environment.

"No why would the power ships, which are essentially a rather dirty solution - various estimates put emissions at about 20 million tons per ship over the 20-year period, be preferable to the renewable solutions which are far cleaner."

The African National Congress (ANC)'s Sibusiso Kula has questioned the 20-year contracts for the IPP programme.

"Our government intends to procure power ships for 20 years. I want to understand what that says about the depth of the power crisis the country is confronted with."

Director-General Thabo Mokoena said that no contracts had been signed yet.

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