This program earned a Platinum award.
Landfills generate a large amount of gas, most of which is Methane and Carbon Dioxide, which are both Greenhouse Gases (GHG). They also (predictably) produce large amounts of odour. It was therefore decided to attempt to address both of these problems at landfill sites in KwaZulu-Natal, and two sites were chosen – Mariannhill and Bisasar Road. Engines were built and commissioned at both sites, and received registration to buy carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism. These were two of the first CDM projects in the country. They now both produce useable renewable energy which is used by the Ethekwini Municipality.
Innovation: The projects are two of the first gas to electricity projects in Africa.
Effectiveness: Mariannhill has a 1MW engine; and Bisasar Road has 6.5MW generating capacity. The two combined process 4000m³ and destroy all methane content.
Poverty Impact: The initiative means that the municipality uses less electricity from the national grid; and also uses up large amounts of its GHGs. Thus, it has a significant environmental impact.
Sustainability: The project cost about R67m to date, and generates about R50m through electricity tariffs (R7m) and Certified Emission Reductions (CERs – R42m). Thus, it is expected to pay itself off within two years, and then become a source of revenue for the municipality. It is therefore likely to remain sustainable into the future.
Replication: Similar projects could be established at other landfills across the country. However, this would require substantial funding and political buy-in, as well as becoming registered under the CDM, which is a slow process. Thus, it is likely that only municipalities in richer provinces will be able to replicate this project.