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South Africa: Durban Municipal Solid Waste
(Prototype Carbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 0545

2 Project Documents

Project Photo 1
The Mariannhill landfill gas recovery unit

The World Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund is pleased to be the purchaser of 700,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from the first Landfill Gas to Energy project registered under the CDM in the African continent - the Marianhill and la Mercy landfill sites. The methodology used, AM0010, was in fact developed using this project as a prototype. The World Bank is keen to promote successful solid waste management practices, and in this case the benefits are multiple - clean energy, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are also a result of the project. The Marianhill site itself has long been recognised as a wildlife sanctuary and provides an example of how landfills can actually serve the community through promoting environmental awareness.

Project Photo 2
Sustainably managed waste disposal at Mariannhill

Mariannhill and La Mercy serve as a pioneer for other CDM landfill gas capture and landfill gas to energy projects on the continent, and the project stands as an example of successful collaboration between the local Municipality--eThekwini Municipality--, the Department of Cleansing and Solid Waste ( DSW) as the responsible municipal agency, the financing agency, Agence Francaise de Developpement, and the World Bank's energy , environment, and carbon finance teams.

The Durban Landfill Gas to Energy project consists of an enhanced collection of landfill gas at two landfill sites in eThekwini Municipality and the use of some of the recovered gas to produce electricity. The electricity produced will be fed into the municipal grid and replace electricity that the municipal electricity company is buying from other suppliers. Previously, the Marianhill site collected and flared a portion of the methane generated for local, site-specific reasons. La Mercy, which is located far away from residential areas, only had passive venting in place to ensure that the concentration of landfill gas does not reach hazardous levels. The CDM project substantially upgrades the current low efficiency of the partial collection system currently in place, rising to about 80% collection efficiency at the peak in 2012, and then progressively dropping over the long-term.

The project is implemented by Durban Solid Waste (DSW) which is the municipal solid waste department of eThekwini Municipality. The electricity produced from the landfill gas is sold to the municipal electricity department.

Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol requires that a CDM project activity contribute to the sustainable development of the host country. Assessing the project’s side effects on the local environment and communities is thus a key element for each CDM project. In addition, the PCF attempts to ensure that all landfill gas projects it participates in have an electricity generation component, thereby ensuring a productive use of methane, providing another benefit to the country in addition to revenue generation from the capture of landfill gas through flaring. At the same time, the World Bank ensures through its technical, environmental, and social due diligence process that the proposed CDM activity does not stand in the way of any legitimate local social or environmental action by stakeholders.

The Durban Landfill Gas to Energy project has positive effects on local air and groundwater quality and safety. By displacing electricity from the grid the project reduces emissions related to coal-fired power production which include sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulates. It also reduces the adverse impacts related to transportation of coal and coal-mining (dust and acid mine drainage). Near the landfill sites the project improves local air quality by further reducing the amount of landfill gas released into the atmosphere and thus reducing the risk of dangerous methane gas concentrations and of exposure of neighboring residents to odor. This is particularly relevant for the Mariannhill landfill site which is located close to residential areas. All gas capturing wells are equipped for leachate removal which contributes to the protection of groundwater.

With regard to local employment the project will result in a small increase in the area of skilled jobs for operation and maintenance of the equipment at the landfill and the power generation units.

The provision of up to 3MW in electricity will provide revenues for the Municipality, and reduce local pollution from fossil-fuel plants, the generation source for most electricity in South Africa.

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