Orca-class Karpowership
An Orca-class power ship from Karpowership.
  • Turkish company Karpowership has submitted a proposal to the South African government to plug the short-term gap in generation, Reuters reports.
  • The company says its has proposed several possible injection points, where its ships could plug into the national grid.
  • And it is promising to generate electricity at a cost far below what it costs Eskom to run its diesel-fired peaking plants. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


Turkish power-ship company Karpowership has already submitted a proposal to help plug the supply gap in Eskom generation, Reuters reports, which is now awaiting a response from the SA government.

At the current level of generation Eskom is falling roughly 2,000MW short, and it anticipates imposing electricity rationing for the next 18 months.

An emergency procurement process for 3,000MW kicked off in mid-December, with the department of mineral resources and energy saying it hoped to have power on the grid in as little as three months. Initial responses to that request for information closed on Friday.

See also: Gwede Mantashe is punting an Eskom plan that would see the government sell everything except high-voltage transmission lines

Karpowership has submitted a proposal, its global sales director Patrick O’Driscoll told Reuters reporter Wendell Roelf on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba – and he suggested its plan could be cheap compared to the diesel-fired peaking power stations Eskom regularly uses to keep the lights on. 

“I can give guarantees and assurances that Karpowership will be significantly less, maybe even half the cost of those peakers,” Reuters quoted him as saying on Eskom’s open cycle gas turbines.

The ships typically operate using natural gas, which is cheaper than diesel.

Karpowership is part of the Turkish group Karadeniz Energy, which has extensive operations in Iraq and operates geo-thermal and solar plants.

See also: He’s ‘not entirely insane', says Eskom’s new CEO – here’s why he took the job

Karpowership designs and builds ships, and also does engineering and fuel procurement in house, in order to offer what it calls a "plug and play" power solution at short notice. The company says it supplies 10% of Mozambique's electricity needs, alongside operations in Zambia (despite it being land-locked, via the power grids of Mozambique and Zimbabwe), Sudan, Ghana, Indonesia, and elsewhere. 

Its current fleet of 22 ships have a combined generating capacity of 3,500MW, with the largest single ship generating 470MW. (That is about a tenth of the 4,800MW due to be generated by each of Eskom's mega power stations Medupi and Kusile.)

It has another 5,000MW worth of ships in the pipeline.

The company is trying to convince African customers that, while it is a supplier of emergency capacity on a short-term basis, it can also offer contracts as long as 20 years for generation.

Watch Karpowership's video introduction to power ships, in French:

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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