Karpowership says S.Africa grants licences for floating power generation

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CAPE TOWN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - South African energy regulator Nersa has granted Turkey's Karpowership three licences to generate power on floating gas ships at ports, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Karpowership has faced numerous challenges since the government in March granted it the biggest share of a 2,000 megawatt emergency power tender to provide the cheapest and quickest option for electricity.

Its plan to generate power on its floating gas ships and plug it into the South African grid has been stridently opposed by environment activists and local fishing communities.

Besides the power generation licence, the firm needs to clear several regulatory hurdles, including environmental approval, and litigation challenging the tender outcome that runs for 20 years needs to be resolved.

"We have confirmation from Nersa on generation licences and are very happy to be moving forward," said a Karpowership spokesperson, adding the licences were for three ports that would collectively supply around 1,200 MW of capacity.

In June, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment refused enviromental approvals for the three gas-to-power projects for reasons including that it did not comply with public participation rules.

Earlier in September, a South Africa high court agreed to postpone an appeal against the emergency tender brought by DNG Energy, a local company, which was not chosen from 11 preferred bidders and wants the decision overturned.

Any delays in finalising the emergency power tender could prolong an energy crisis that has cost Africa's largest industrial nation billions of dollars in lost revenue due to regular electricity blackouts. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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