KiPower power station
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of South Africa|
The KiPower power station was a proposed 600 MW coal-fired power station for Delmas, South Africa.
The map below shows the approximate location where the plant would have been built, 20 km south-east of Delmas in Mpumalanga.
The plant was proposed by KiPower, a subsidiary of Kuyasa Mining, which runs the Delmas Colliery coal mine. KiPower wanted to establish the station in close proximity to the Delmas coal mine, utilizing coal from the mine as the fuel. The station would include a coal ash disposal facility in close proximity.
KiPower expected the first of the plant’s four 150 MW units to be operational by 2018. The company said the power station could be extended to 2,000 MW.
In April 2015, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) requested additional information on the final environmental-impact assessment (EIA) report for the project. Requested information included the cumulative impacts of the proposed power line connection and the terms of a proposed agreement with State-owned power utility Eskom on the connection options for the plant.
In October 2015, the DEA granted authorization for the construction of the plant. KiPower expected construction to begin that year. However, in May 2016, Mining Weekly reported construction had yet to begin.
Oct 2016: Plant not chosen for country's IPP program
In October 2016, energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that Thabametsi power station and Khanyisa power station were the preferred bidders for round one of the country's first Coal Baseload Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme. KiPower was not chosen.
Legal challenge to EIA
The project's environmental permits have been consistently challenged by groundWork and other local groups, saying the EIA process has been inadequate, ignored public comments, and did not sufficiently consider alternatives.
In March 2016, groundwork and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg appealed to the SA Department of Environmental Affairs to suspend the environmental authorization of the proposed 1200MW Thabametsi, 600MW KiPower and 1050MW Colenso power stations, saying the EIAs for the projects are vague and flawed. All three plants will be located in drought disaster areas, and the Highveld and Waterberg, in which Thabametsi and KiPower are set to be built, have been declared air quality priority areas under the Air Quality Act.
In a March 2017 ruling, the North Gauteng High Court confirmed that a climate-change assessment must be done prior to the authorisation of any new coal-fired power station in South Africa. According to a May 2017 assessment by the Daily Maverick, the ruling casts doubt on the future of the KiPower power station and the Colenso power station.
In September 2017, groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, instituted two new court applications in the Pretoria High Court challenging decisions by the Department of Environmental Affairs to authorize the KiPower and Khanyisa plants without first conducting an assessment of climate impacts. One of the licenses that groundWork appealed against was a water use license (WUL) for the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for the construction of the KiPower plant. They cited health and water safety issues as high risks for the locals near KiPower.
In October 2017, KiPower and Kuyasa’s attorneys indicated that they plan to apply afresh for a new environmental authorisation for the power station, and that they will not be opposing the application to have KiPower’s existing environmental authorisation set aside. It is not yet known whether the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) intends to oppose the litigation; KiPower’s existing environmental authorisation remains in place until the DEA's decision. It is also not clear whether KiPower’s new environmental impact assessment (EIA) application will include a climate change impact assessment and will address the numerous deficiencies and water pollution concerns that arose from the original EIA.
However, on October 18, 2017, KiPower and Kuyasa gave notice that they intended to oppose groundWork’s court challenge again.
In May 2022, the Pretoria High Court confirmed that the environmental authorization for the power station had expired. Without this authorization, the project cannot move forward.
New coal plants looking unlikely
Kuyasa Mining had planned to submit the KiPower project in the next round of IPP coal projects, since it was not chosen in the first round in 2016. However, on 1 September 2017, the Minister of Energy announced that all future IPP programs in the country were on hold until a proper review was done and the government assessed the amount of power capacity needed.
South Africa's draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP), released in August 2018, contains plans for an additional 1000 MW of new coal-fired power on top of under-construction coal plants, namely Khanyisa power station and Thabametsi power station. No other coal plants are listed.
As of June 2022, development of the KiPower project was no longer progressing.
The estimated cost was US$1.7 billion and KiPower was seeking financing.
Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign
The KiPower project is opposed by the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign, a joint effort by EarthLife, groundWork, and the Centre for Environmental Rights aimed a discouraging investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines, accelerating the retirement of South Africa's coal infrastructure, and enabling a just transition to renewable energy systems.
On March 25, 2015, environmental activist organizations under the umbrella of the Highveld Environmental Justice Network held an anti-coal march. They handed a memorandum to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in Mpumalanga, South Africa and expressed concerns over the impacts of coal mining on their health and land. The protestors requested that the DMR respond in 14 days.
- Sponsor: KiPower
- Parent company: Kuyasa Mining
- Location: Delmas, South Africa
- Coordinates: -26.14658, 28.680861 (approximate)
- Status: Cancelled
- Gross Capacity: 600 MW (Units 1-4: 150 MW)
- Type: Subcritical
- Projected in service:
- Coal Type: Bituminous
- Coal Source: Delmas Colliery coal mine
- Source of financing:
Articles and resources
- "Final Scoping Report - KiPower IPP Project," Jones and Wagener, Final Scoping Report June 2012
- "KiPower coal-fired power plant, South Africa," Engineering News, May 16, 2014
- "KiPower coal-fired power plant, South Africa," Engineering News, April 3, 2015
- "600 MW KiPower coal project given environmental go-ahead," Mining Weekly, October 22, 2015
- "Environmental impact report on KiPower power lines," Mining Weekly, May 13, 2016
- "Thabametsi and Khanyisa take first in SA coal baseload IPP," ESI Africa, October 11, 2016
- "FACTS SHEET, Bid Window 1: Coal Procurement Programme," Department of Energy, October 2016
- "Comments on the following final documents for the proposed KiPower (Pty) Ltd power station: Environmental Impact Assessment Report; Environmental Management Programme; Waste Management Licence Application Report; and Atmospheric Emission Licence Application," CER, June 3, 2014
- Prinesha Naidoo, "Environmental appeal launched against coal IPPs Environmentalists say renewables are a better solution," MineWeb, March 11, 2016
- Khanyisa: Environmentalists challenge new coal-fired power station," Daily Maverick, May 2, 2017
- "Another Two Proposed Coal Power Plants Taken to Court," Mining Review, September 12, 2017
- “Appeal to the Water Tribunal against the Decision of the Department of Water and Sanitation to Issue a Water Use Licence”, Centre for Environmental Rights
- "Proposed coal plant developer withdraws opposition to legal challenge," Mining Review, October 5, 2017
- "Environmental justice: battle with coal IPP continues," Centre for Environmental Rights, May 9, 2022
- "Another climate court victory for coal polluted Highveld Area," ESI Africa, November 6, 2017
- "Life After Coal sets record straight on inaccurate statements by Colenso Power," Centre for Environmental Rights, March 20, 2018
- "Life After Coal, Greenpeace Africa slam inclusion of new coal in electricity plan," CER, August 28, 2018
- “Organisations took to the streets for anti-coal march”, Witbank News, April 8, 2015