New Caledonia

What a way to solve a power crisis

In a first for the Pacific, an electrical floating power-plant will soon be on its way from Turkey to New Caledonia to help with the nation’s power crisis.

The Nickel Society (SLN), the New Caledonian nickel producer controlled by France’s Eramet, announced in April that it planned to hire the floating power unit for its smelter to cover its needs pending the replacement of the Pacific territory’s ageing central power plant.

The company is supplying power to New Caledonia but had had to rethink its strategy after losses in recent years linked to high costs and social unrest.

The issue became more urgent after an accident last year caused one of the units of New Caledonia’s main power plant to close, leading SLN to rely on costlier top-up purchases from the rest of the local network.

SLN has hired the floating installation from Turkish-based specialist Karpowership for three years. Named the Orhan Bey, it will provide the 180 megawatts required to power its Doniambo smelter, the company said in a statement.

The temporary power unit will burn fuel oil like New Caledonia’s central plant but its more efficient technology will cut carbon emissions by about 30 per cent compared with current levels, SLN said.

The Orhan Bey is not the first of its kind. Karpowership has a number of such ships which are contracted to governments in Africa and the Caribbean.

Orhan Bey the floating power plant will set sail for New Caledonia. Picture Wikipedia

The converted power ships offer self-propelled, ready-to-go infrastructure for developing countries.

The ship will measure 140 meters in length and will be 50 meters high and 45 meters in width with more than 50 specialised technicians on board.

The structure will be operated by highly trained Turkish and New Caledonian specialists and is due to be fully functional by mid-September.

It will float in the water next to the old plant near the nickel factory in Doniambo near Noumea.

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Commercial director for Karpowership, Zeynep Harezi, told media in Turkey that the contract was the start of more opportunities for both countries.

Ms Harezi said this was a fantastic opportunity for the Pacific and the company.

The company is also involved in various projects to help nations with energy solutions.

The ship will take 45 days to travel from Turkey to New Caledonia, crossing six seas and two oceans.

Karpowership is an enterprise of both the Turkish and German governments and the first business to make ships of this kind.

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