Landfill gas-to-electricity project launched

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pretoria - A landmark project that converts gas from household waste into electricity has been officially launched in Durban.

A first for Africa, the project will produce enough electricity for thousands of medium-income homes.

It will also inject tens of millions of Rands into the city coffers through the sale of electricity and certified emission reduction credits, also known as carbon credits.

But the real winner will be the environment. Millions of cubic metres of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have escaped into the atmosphere each year, contributing to global warming, will now be converted into clean electricity.

The project is currently operating at the Marianhill and La Mercy landfills and will be extended to the larger Bisasar Road landfill.

Speaking at the official launch ceremony today, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said the project will accelerate the use of renewable energy and deal with energy challenges.

The project, she said, was an important part of government's strategic vision to be more sustainable and to tackle climate change.

She said government recognises that renewable energy will significantly contribute to energy supply security by increasing diversification of energy sources, expanding access to energy services and contributing to sustainable development through the optimum use of cleaner energy resources.

"A number of renewable energy sources and technologies are available in South Africa, but most still need to be developed to their full potential," said Peters.

Peters said the project will not only address the waste management and energy demand. It will reduce poverty by creation of employment opportunities, improvement of health status and air quality by reducing the release of harmful greenhouse gases and contribute towards the country's skills development plan.

The landfill gas project received R17.3 million through the Department of Trade and Industry's Critical Infrastructure Programme.

Total project income revenue is estimated around R4.5 million per month realised from the sale of carbon credits and the sale of electricity. -