South Africa includes ‘power ships’ as part of its energy plans

 ·19 Mar 2021

Turkish company Karpowership has been included in the preferred bids for South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), to supply three power ships to alleviate the country’s power supply woes.

Mineral Resources and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe said in a statement on Thursday (18 March), that the ships have been approved in three ports, Coega, in the Eastern Cape, Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal and Saldanha in the Western Cape.

The RMIPPPP was released to the market in August 2020 with aim of alleviating the country’s electricity supply constraints and to reduce the extensive utilisation of diesel-based peaking electrical generators in the medium-to-long-term.

“The bid submission closed on 22 December 2020 and attracted a total of 28 bid responses with a potential contracted capacity of approximately 5,117MW,” said Mantashe.

“This clearly demonstrates a sustained private sector interest in participating in the South African energy landscape.”

Mantashe said that the quantity and quality of the bid responses and potential megawatt of contracted capacity allowed for a competitive price evaluation.

He added that the evaluation process has resulted in the selection of eight preferred bids totalling 1,845, and a further three eligible bids totalling 150MW.

“The three eligible bids are subject to value for money proposition in line with the provisions in the request for proposal.

“It is important to note that these three bidders are within the 2,000MW capacity threshold in terms of the evaluation rankings, but their announcement can only be made following satisfactory value for money propositions.”

Why power ships? 

Powers hips are cost-effective, privately owned and operated floating power stations which can be moored at South African harbours.

Each power ship contains its own generation, electrical control, and substation components. The ship also includes its own maintenance workshop and engineering capabilities.

The onboard substation can be connected to the national grid without lengthy delays or complicated engineering.

The ships can operate both on liquid fuels (HFO/RFO) and natural gas. With high efficiency and availability, power ships can provide uninterrupted electricity at various high voltage levels.

Operation and maintenance of the power ships are also provided for by the Karadeniz Energy Group, the holding company of Karpowership South Africa.

Read: South Africa selects bidders for emergency power generation

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