Agency supports waste-to-energy project in SA

29th July 2016

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to South African renewable-energy project developer MBHE African Power to support a waste-to-energy project in the Drakenstein municipality, in the Western Cape.

The project aims to alleviate the burden of depleting landfill airspace while simultaneously easing constraints on South Africa’s electricity supply. The project has the potential to divert up to 500 t/d of solid waste from the landfill to the plant, which is expected to produce around 12.6 MW of electricity.

The public–private partnership, including Drakenstein municipality and waste management company Interwaste, with MBHE as joint developer, will implement the project.

This partnership supports the goals of Power Africa, a US government-led initiative to increase electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by adding more than 30 000 MW of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60-million new home and business connections.

“USTDA is pleased to support US private-sector participation in what is anticipated to be South Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant. In addition to increasing local access to affordable, reliable electricity and reducing landfill waste, the project will help create clean energy jobs in both the US and South Africa,” says USTDA sub-Saharan Africa regional director Lida Fitts.

Global engineering company Black & Veatch was selected to provide the technical assistance, which will include fuel characterisation, front-end engineering and design and tender support for the engineering, procurement, construction and operations and maintenance contracts. MBHE is also conducting additional specialist studies and a full environmental- and social-impact assessment in parallel with the technical assistance.

“MBHE wishes to thank USTDA for their contribution to the development of the project. The development process will serve as a blueprint for future waste-to-energy projects in Southern Africa and aims to solve a national waste management problem in alleviating the burden on ever depleting landfill airspace,” says MBHE director Karl Siegel.

The USTDA helps companies to create jobs through the export of US goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links US businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner companies.