MPs question govt's plan to buy 2,000MW of power from IPPs

The Energy Department said that eight preferred bidders could come online and provide emergency power supply within a year. Officials said that this was critical given the country’s supply shortfall, which often led to rolling blackouts.

Image courtesy of Sumbebekos (Wikimedia Commons).

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) have questioned plans to buy 2,000 megawatts of power from independent power producers (IPP).

Among them were three so-called power ships, a move which had some parliamentarians concerned due to environmental reasons.

Officials from the Energy Department briefed MPs on Tuesday about the risk mitigation of the IPP procurement programme.

READ: MPs slam govt plan to buy emergency power from powerships

The Energy Department said that eight preferred bidders could come online and provide emergency power supply within a year.

Officials said that this was critical given the country’s supply shortfall, which often led to rolling blackouts.

The department's Jacob Mbele: "The integrated resource plan, which is a plan that we follow in the procurement of additional capacity, recognises that the supply and demand gap created by challenges with Eskom generation plants requires that we undertake urgent procurement of additional capacity."

But MPs like the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Kevin Mileham questioned the use of the power ships.

"Who bears the financial liability for any accidents or incidents which may arise in the harbours. We saw, for example, the effects of the explosion in Beirut harbour. Who would carry the costs of such an incident or an oil spill?”

Fellow parliamentarians have labeled power ships as a dirty option.

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