South Africa’s transport ministry has granted Turkish ship Karpowership access to three ports for a period of 20 years as part of the country’s ongoing attempts to solve its power crisis. Karpowership aims to generate electricity with its floating gas ships and distribute it through the South African power grid. The plan has received a boost from President Cyril Ramaphosa, who declared it would alleviate the ongoing electricity shortage across the country. However, the company has faced opposition, including from environmental activists and small-scale fishermen, since winning the largest share of the emergency power tender in 2021. Opposition parties have criticised the 20-year contract, implying that Karpower has nothing to offer and that it is too long for a back-up power supply. Despite these criticisms, the government has now granted its approval, highlighting the need to address the country’s chronic energy problems that are caused by a lack of investment and aging coal-fired power plants that are prone to outages.
Meanwhile, Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned utility, has warned the country to prepare for the winter as higher demand is likely to result in near-daily power outages. Populations are struggling with power supply cuts of over 10 hours a day amid the worst energy crisis in South Africa. The country’s GDP has suffered as a result of these cuts. The government has been taking steps to mitigate the power crisis by exploring alternative energy sources, such as renewable energy, gas, and nuclear power, in addition to measures like the agreement with Karpowership. However, it will take time to resolve the crisis completely, and South Africans should expect further power cuts for the foreseeable future.