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DEFF withdraws directive issued to Karpowership SA Pty Ltd for emergency power supply

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has revoked a section 30A directive granted to Karpowership SA Pty Ltd for activities linked to the emergency generation of electricity.

When the company had initially submitted their request it had indicated that the country’s electricity supply was under threat because of the increased pressure on the healthcare system as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The motivation for the request was to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy to the healthcare sector, something which Eskom was unable to guarantee. The department verbally approved the request on 26 June 2020. Following receipt of confirmation that all environmental requirements would be met, the directive was confirmed in writing on 6 July 2020.

It has subsequently emerged that the company had applied for the verbal directive in advance, in preparation for the possible implementaion of the government’s integrated resources plan and in the event that the company would be selected as an emergency power producer. However, this information was not disclosed to the department when the company motivated for the verbal directive to be issued for the Section 30A activities, which are, in essence, an emergency provision.

In light of the fact that it has now emerged that there was in fact no emergency situation, the department has withdrawn the verbal authorisation and subsequent written directive for the commencement of activities listed in terms of Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act on 13 August 2020.

The company has since accepted the notice and indicated that it does not intend to challenge the department’s decision to revoke the verbal directive.

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