South Africa continues to endure the hardship of load shedding as Eskom struggles to deal with a constrained power system. With some areas across the country being left without electricity for four hours at a time, power outages pose a major threat as South Africa focuses on rebuilding its economy.
However, Karpowership South Africa offers an immediate solution to load shedding. While it is difficult to put an exact figure on the economic cost of load shedding, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Energy have estimated a cost range of at least up to R150-million for every hour of Stage 2 load shedding. It is critical that we put an end to power outages and we therefore welcome government’s efforts to fast-track the emergency procurement of additional energy generation in order to plug the short-term energy supply gap.
Karpowership South Africa, a subsidiary of the world’s largest powership provider, is ready to be part of the solution and can begin supplying electricity to the grid within two months of being given instruction to proceed.
Five powerships (fully self-contained floating power stations), which operate on regasified liquid natural gas (LNG), are ready for deployment to the country. These powerships can be made operational within two months of being given official go-ahead, ramping up to 2000 MW additional power to the national grid within five months.
This could help South Africa avoid two stages of load shedding during peak periods and when unplanned breakdowns occur at coal power plants. Last week saw an increase in breakdowns, with six generation units taken off the grid, which resulted in the constrained power situation and Eskom having to implement load shedding.
Eskom has indicated the country’s grid will remain unstable and unpredictable up to August 2021, while it implements its philosophy maintenance plan to fix its aging fleet of coal plants and procures new energy sources. In order to try to avoid load shedding, the state utility has been utilising its expensive peaking plants for extended periods of time, which is not sustainable nor economical. It is clear from the past few days of power outages that this strategy is not working, in spite of costing the country hundreds of millions of rand each month.
Powerships are a far more cost-effective way to procure and deliver electricity. Using LNG, powerships produce electricity for around R1,70/kWh. This price is an all-inclusive delivered cost of electricity including all capital costs such as fuel and equipment, as well all operation and maintenance costs. By using powerships, Eskom could save around R28-billion in a year.
Karpowership also offers reliable, continuous delivery of power with average generation capacity availability in excess of 98%, making the technology an obvious complement to the country’s renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar plants, as a baseload or mid-merit power source. LNG as the fuel source, to fuel the powerships intended for use in South Africa, ensures that electricity is derived from a clean source of energy, generating 30% less carbon dioxide than liquid fuel and around 55% less than coal.
As South Africa focuses on rebuilding the economy post-lockdown, businesses and communities do not have to feel the additional pinch of load shedding. Karpowership is able to bridge the energy gap with a clean, reliable, cost-effective source of power whilst assisting the government to achieve the stable energy goals within its procurement plans.
The company has submitted its solution to the government under the Department of Energy’s recent request for information (RFI) process and to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) under its Section 34 (1) draft determinations public participation process.
The company looks forward to continued participation in the government’s procurement processes and to playing our part in ensuring energy security for all South Africans going forward.
Contact Patrick O’Driscoll, Karpowership, email@example.com