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Use municipal waste to alleviate SA electricity needs, expert

16 Nov 2012 16:30
SA municipal waste to energy initiatives are in a nascent phase, as finance of these projects is a major challenge, ESI-Africa says. Also, while private sector involvement in various stages of the supply chain is possible, such involvement should be objectively evaluated. The market, however, is set to increase as initiatives from South African metropolitan municipalities come online.
Currently, 95% of South Africa's waste is disposed of in landfill sites, which are typically situated in remote locations, resulting in increased transport costs. This directly affects the rates and taxes paid by urban inhabitants. Managing existing landfill sites rather than exploring new ones is often a better alternative, says Frost & Sullivan's energy and power team leader Johan Muller, pointing out, however, that this statement is "dependent on various financial indicators, such as the rising cost of electricity from Eskom."

Although the generation of energy from municipal waste is not the core objective (as is the minimisation of waste), the additional supply of electricity to the national grid is a welcome relief to the South African electricity demand issues, Muller tells ESI-Africa.

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