Waste-to-Energy Might Help Power South Africa

Project Info

Gauteng Growth and Development Agency

Gauteng Province, South Africa


This heavily urbanized province is interested in seeing whether waste can be a sustainable resource to help meet energy demands in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Besides reducing reliance on fossil fuels, a waste-to-energy plant could help ease the burden of landfilling waste for a metropolitan area that is facing diminishing landfill airspace.

If built, the plant would be the first mass burn incinerator of municipal solid waste for the province and country.

Our Role

As the project moved into feasibility and pre-implementation phases, Golder assisted in looking at environmental, social, and financial perspectives. We used a waste and resource assessment tool called the WRATE model to undertake a leading life cycle analysis to evaluate environmental impacts of various waste management systems.

Based on the project specifics, WRATE calculated the theoretical emissions savings of carbon dioxide equivalents for the waste-to-energy plant, compared to an equivalently sized landfill. These equivalents were then used to calculate the potential saleable certified carbon emission reduction (CER) credits that can be counted towards meeting emission-limitation commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Also assessed were:

– Direct and indirect job opportunities during construction and operation.
– Human health improved benefits in terms of controlled emissions from an incinerator.
– A financial model that looked at four main revenue sources, including renewable energy feed-in tariffs, sale of heat, gate fees, and trading of CER credits.

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