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Arandis Power depends on new EIA

After shelving plans to construct a recycled oil power station, Arandis Power (Pty) Ltd has had to go back to the drawing board and are in the process of conducting an amended Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of its plans to add a thermal power generation component to its envisaged hybrid heavy oil fuel power plant.
Mr. Werner Petrick of SLR Consulting, the company tasked with the responsibility to complete the assessment explained the rationale driving the new EIA. Said Petrick: “An EIA was already conducted and approved by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) for the planned Arandis Thermal Power Generation and Waste Oil Recycling Plant in 2012. Arandis Power however wished to construct a solar (photovoltaic) power plant [instead], in addition to the approved Thermal Power Plant and thus the need for another EIA process and clearance.”
Petrick further explained that EIA’s are regulated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in terms of the Environmental Management Act, 7 of 2007. The Act was gazetted on 27 December 2007 (Government Gazette No. 3966) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations: Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Government Gazette No. 4878) were promulgated on 6 February 2012.
Added Petrick: “The outcome of the EIA process will be to determine the potential impact on the environment. It will specifically assess the cumulative impacts or changed impacts associated with the proposed changes to the project.”
Explaining the intended power plant’s design changes, Petrick said that since the plant would cover a significant area as well as local disturbances that were expected to occur because of the construction process, a need for an amended EIA arose.

“As part of the design of the power plant, [we have to determine] how it must be designed to dampen the effect it is bound to have on the environment. Various design requirements and management and mitigation measures were developed as a result of the original EIA process. These will be updated where relevant as part of the EIA process currently being conducted, to take the proposed changes into consideration,” said Petrick.
He explained that once the EIA report and updated Environmental Management Plan (EMP) have been submitted to the environment ministry, a review process will commence. “It is uncertain exactly how long [the ministry] will take to complete their review and to make a decision,” he added. The EIA report according to Petrick was expected to be completed in about two weeks, at which time it would be open to public scrutiny.
Arandis Power had initially planned on building a power station that would utilise heavy fuel oil in addition to using recycled waste oil to generate the electricity required. Managing Director of Arandis Power Mr.
 Ezio Vernetti had however explained in a prior interview with the Economist that since the project was conceptualised, they realised it would make more sense to go the solar route as this would afford Arandis Power larger fuel savings.
 The recycling plant though is expected to give way to the solar power component.  The solar power plant at maximum 54 Megawatt peak (MWp) is expected to cover an area of approximately 142 hectares, including internal roads, and site facilities. An additional 18 ha of land will be required for the laydown area during construction.
For the intended 54 MW installed peak capacity, some 183,960 panels will be required.
The amended EIA makes provision for the solar component to be added to the plant and Arandis Power is counting on its approval by August or latest September. The solar plant will have a capacity of 50 MW that will be fed into the national grid at no cost to Nampower.

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