Cape Town converts waste to energy
A MULTI-million rand wasteto-energy plant in Cape Town is set to make a big environmental impact by limiting the amount of household waste at landfill sites around the city and also create muchneeded jobs. Premier Helen Zille launched the R400 million waste-to-energy plant in Athlone Industria, Cape Town, yesterday. Zille was joined by City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille.
The New Horizons Energy plant will process more than 500 tons of municipal solid waste, wet trade waste and pure organic waste into environmentally considerate energy and recycled bio-products daily. The project, a first of its kind in Africa, will create an estimated 500 indirect and 80 direct jobs.
Collected waste from across the city will be converted into biogas (methane) and 18 000 litres of diesel equivalent a day would be used by JSE-listed gas and welding products company Afrox. The project will also sell carbon dioxide to Afrox.
Green Cape, a Western Cape government-funded entity established to promote the development of the green economy in the province, provided technical support to New Horizons Energy.
Zille said the project was aligned with the province’s “energy security game changer”, which focused on creating the energy security needed for economic growth.
“South Africa’s energy crisis requires a sustainable, diverse energy mix. We are aiming to make our vision of an energy-secure province a reality by 2020. It is a four-fold win: cheaper electricity prices, lower carbon emission, more foreign investment and more industrialisation. This ultimately means more local jobs.”
Zille said the Western Cape was home to nine out of 12 municipalities with approved tariffs for residents to feed power back into the grid. A further goal is to promote the installation of solar water heating devices in homes and businesses across the province.
She said 60 000 solar water heaters and heat pumps had been installed so far.
“There are enormous economic advantages to renewable technologies, combined with natural gas. We will keep making progress on this crucial game changer.”
De Lille said growing the green energy industry presented new opportunities for improving resource resilience and stimulating inclusive growth.
“In growing the green economy, there are roles for… the government and the private sector, both of which are called upon to innovate. It is an honour for Cape Town to be the location of this new wasteto-energy plant, developed by New Horizons Energy.”
De Lille said the R400m investment would convert solid waste into bio-gas with waste that might otherwise have gone to landfill sites in Cape Town. She said converting waste to gas would extend the lifespan of the city’s landfills.
De Lille said Cape Town had moved from just distributing electricity to generating electricity as well, “thereby giving residents a greater choice of what kind of energy they want to use and how much they want to pay for it”.
Clean Energy Africa chief executive Marcel Steinberg said Cape Town would set the benchmark for how waste management would be in 10 years’ time.
Marcel Steinberg, of Clean Energy Africa, Premier Helen Zille and Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille in Athlone yesterday.