South African Dream Of Vessel Power Plants Hits Roadblock

South Africa continues to suffer from the misplaced image. Despite it trying hard to get its supply of electricity, its plans have reached a dead-end with suppliers now worried whether there is proper infrastructure in place to support a $16 billion power investment. 

The country is trying to invest in a new form of electricity generator- vessel based electricity plants. These are essentially converted old existing ships into powerships that can be self propelled. They are ready-to-go infrastructures popularly being used for developing countries that can be plugged into national grids where required. Then there are unmotorised powerships known as power barges that are power plants installed on a deck barge.

Africa chose Turkey’s Karpowership to supply the continent with 1220 megawatts of electricity. It would be making use of Ngqura, Saldanha Bay and Richards Bay ports and look oversee the construction of pipelines and terminal facilities to bring the gas ashore. 

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Apparently, the legal firm Bowmans found discrepancy in instructions being followed to build a port infrastructure.  It seems that the port authority had plans to obtain a directive from the transport minister to bypass requirements. 

The South African economy has primarily has been bogged down by electricity shortage for more than a decade, without any respite in sight.  Right now, there is an urgent need for the government to implement its emergency procurement program, without which this part of the continent is doomed. 

DNG Energy has already challenged the choice of Karpoweship as the preferred partner. It says that the bidding process was unlawful and that it is a more deserving candidate for the bid. The state has also rejected DNG Energy’s claim that was challenged in court by the former having filed a case. 

There were earlier talks over liquid natural gas infrastructure but that as shelved over legal risks. There is a sad picture of this legal feud shaping in South Africa over the $16 Billion power award could derail its ambitions to bring electricity back to the nation.