West Coast Black Business Alliance demands Karpowership energy solution

By Itumeleng Mafisa Time of article published Jul 1, 2021

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The West Coast Black Business Alliance (WBBA) has slammed the government’s poor handling of the power crisis in the country demanding an end to load shedding, while calling for opportunities to African coastal communities to come up with solutions to the power crisis.

A spokesperson described load shedding as a national embarrassment that has resulted in many business losing money because of power outages.

The group also called for transparency in dealing with independent power producers (IPPS). There have been moves to block the independent power-producing ships. The power ships are expected to boost maritime economies and black coastal business.

"We demand an end to load shedding. We appreciate the government’s acknowledgement that Eskom and load shedding have become a complete national crisis,“ said spokesperson Sammy Claasen.

“In fact, this crisis has become one of our biggest national challenges and embarrassments to our country. Our country and economy cannot afford to continue losing tens of billions of rands per month due to the Eskom crisis and national grid.

“The national grid is unreliable and affects every household, community and the country negatively. This is a serious situation and cannot be tolerated," Claasen said.

Claasen said the government has a constitutional and a legal obligation to provide reliable electricity to the nation.

"Access to national grid and electricity is a basic need, service and basic right enshrined in the Constitution. It is in this light that the Westcoast Black Alliance took a firm stand and position to support our government's Power Procurement Programme or otherwise known as the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPP)," Claasen said.

According to Claaasen independent power projects must contribute about 1 995.76 MW by 2022 to the national grid to minimise and mitigate load shedding. And 1 220 MW of the 1 995.76 MW (i.e. about two-thirds) can be supplied by a single company, Karpowership SA.

Karpowership SA was one of the initial eight successful preferred bidders to provide electricity at the ports of Saldanha Bay, Coega and Richards Bay. This solution can stabilise the national grid and help Eskom to overcome the short- to medium-term supplies of electricity into the national grid. Claasen said the group was concerned about the negative narratives being spun around energy solutions and debates.

"We are also of the view that these views are perceived to be one-sided, exclusive and elitist. Environmental inputs have a great tendency to exclude local communities interest, inputs, opinions and views. We live around coastal societies and communities and have a right to be consulted. Poorer communities and all stakeholders inputs around energy solutions and Karpowership SA should also be considered."

Claasen said West Coast communities had a different opinion around the energy debate and possible solutions.

"We have a right to differ and stand our ground around those who seek to dominate, bully and flood public opinion with such one-sided views and opinions. We are certainly and definitely not in agreement to those that oppose Karpowership SA and the government's Risk Mitigation and Independent Power Producers Programme (RIMPPP). We have a right to either convey our submissions of support or rejection to Karpowership SA."

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