Karpowership missed deadline to appeal environment dept rejection by 10 days, seeks extension

17th April 2023 By: News24Wire

Karpowership SA missed a deadline to appeal the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment's (DFFE) decision to refuse it environmental authorisation for a floating gas power project at the Ngqura port.

It, however, submitted the appeal 10 days after it was due, and now seeks an extension.

In a letter dated 7 April, addressed to the DFFE, Karpowership's lawyers, Pinsent Masons Africa, outline why the submission of the appeal is late and requests a condonation for this in terms of Section 47(c) of the National Environmental Management Act.

The DFFE has confirmed that it received the appeal, as well as the condonation application on 8 April. 

"The Appeal Directorate will commence with the administration of the appeal, as soon as a determination on the application for condonation has been made," the DFFE said in response to questions.

On 7 March, the department notified Karpowership that its application for environmental authorisation for a floating gas power project at the Ngqura Port, located at the Coega Special Economic Zone in the Eastern Cape, was denied.

This was based on two grounds – the one relates to the location of Karpowership's project, which conflicted with Transnet National Ports Authority's development framework.

The other relates to the failure to comply with the EIA requirements regarding the submission of a generic Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) for overhead electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure required for the project.

A 20-day period was allowed to submit the appeal, and it was due on 28 March 2023. 

According to the letter, Karpowership had begun drafting its appeal after the decision to refuse environmental authorisation was known on 7 March. But given the complexity of the project, time was required to address the issues raised by the department.

It also requested that it have until 30 May 2023 to submit the generic EMPr that is required.

The fate of two other projects at the Saldanha Port and Richards Bay Port is also up in the air.

An investigation has been launched into allegations that there was noncompliance in the public consultation process related to the proposed Saldanha Plant. Karpowership has also withdrawn its application for the proposed Richards Bay plant - in order to meet regulatory requirements, it said previously.

Karpowership was among the preferred bidders of the Risk Mitigation IndependentPower Producer Procurement Programme, which launched in 2020. Its three projects were set to provide the bulk or 1 220MW out of the 2 000MW to be procured through the emergency programme. But it has hit several challenges, and its environmental authorisation had been previously denied.

News24 has also reached out to Karpowership for comment, the story will be updated when received.