Countries that need power, need power now – and Karadeniz’s Powerships may just be the fastest moving answer to this particular demand.
“African states need affordable electricity and they need it today, without project finance. It needs to be reliable and environmentally friendly,” said Karpowership’s chief commercial officer Zeynep Harezi. “We decided to build these Powerships and deliver them as a ready to operate plug-and-play solution that’s almost fully financed by us.”
Karpowership is part of the Karadeniz group, which is based in Turkey. The group moved into the power sector in 1996 and now has 25 Powerships, with generation capacity of 4,100 MW.
Harezi told Energy Voice that the ships have a projected lifespan of 25 years, but can be generating in place for as short as a year. Of the company’s 25 ships, 19 are working in 11 different countries. “We have six in reserve that can be deployed immediately.”
The Turkish company is considering options for expansion in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
One of the major advantages of the Powership plan is that it can be deployed so quickly. When a politician promises to bring power to a country, it is often the case that construction can take as long as a political term.
“That’s a long time to deliver on a promise. There are no emergency solutions that are economic. The Powership breaks that chicken-and-egg cycle, we can deliver low-cost conventional power plants within 30 days of signing. In fact, in Sudan, it was four days after signing the contract,” said Harezi.
Conventional onshore power plants must jump through a number of hoops, even before construction can start.
Coronavirus has increased demand for floating power, the executive said, given the increased difficulty of travel and hoop jumping. “Typically backers need to go and see the site and make sure it is all possible. Powerships avoid this.”
Owing to the close quarters of the ships, action to prevent the spread of coronavirus onboard was paramount.
As the extent of the pandemic became clear, “we took the decision to rotate our operations and maintenance teams on the ships, bringing onboard well-rested teams. Our operations have continued with 100% reliability and those ships have been fully quarantined, it’s fairly easy to shut off physical links.”
As a result of precautions, the company’s vessels have continued to operate at full reliability.
Pace of change
Harezi gave the instance of Kuwait as having seen power demand increase “beyond expectations”, with lockdown having changed the nature of energy consumption.
“Libya is in the process of obtaining stability and there’s an increasing drive for social welfare – one thing they need is electricity. Powerships are the perfect solutions. We can deliver enough capacity to put eight more hours of power on the grid within 30 days.
“No one else in the world can deliver large-scale utility power in such a short time frame and no one can compete on price at the smaller scale.”
As a Turkish company, Karpowership is…