Floating Power Ships Fill Africa’s Energy Gaps

Ships are delivering power to developing countries that are waiting for energy projects to be commissioned.
Published: Mon 04 Aug 2014

There is a huge unmet demand and a very big suppressed demand in developing countries, according to Patrick O’ Driscoll , Director Business development at Karpowership, who spoke to Engerati at the Africa Energy Forum. Project delays such as contract agreements, finance and building can anything from three to five years. During this time, people’s power needs are not met sufficiently.

Karpowership fills this gap by delivering power within 120 days via floating power stations which run on oil and gas. These large ships berth alongside the harbor or they moor offshore and transmit power through subsea cables or transmission lines. The power is then fed into the city’s electricity network.

The current ships have 12 days of energy storage which means they are able to operate 12 hours each day. When the ship runs out of power, it draws from a separate larger fuel storage ship which floats alongside.

For longer term needs, Driscoll explains that there are plans to construct a power island, that is, a power ship and storage ship will be nearby. The 500MW stand-alone permanent power plant is located five to 10 kilometers offshore. This solution is being developed for a contract of 10 to 15 years.

“No-one else is doing this. You get a pre-fabricated power plant which has already been financed. This can be used while energy projects are underway and it can be used on a short term longer term basis.”