Review of Waste-to-Energy Policies in South Africa and International Comparisons

Mar 2023

This report is a review of the Waste-to-Energy (WtE) policy in South Africa, carried out within the framework of IEA Bioenergy Task 36 (waste valorisation). Drivers and barriers in the implementation of WtE solutions in different counties (i.e.,Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and United States of America) are also presented and discussed. This document provides countries with inspiration and support in implementing suitable policies and solutions in the waste-to-resources management and WtE sector that would facilitate their transition towards circularity.

Main conclusions:

Material and energy valorisation of waste are key solutions to waste problems around the world. Moreover, Waste-to-Energy (WtE) substitutes fossil energy at the local scale. This review shows that, from the comparison among the Task 36 countries, the various drivers and barriers identified in the policy frameworks, from development to implementation appear very similar despite the socio-economic and geographical disparities. It is acknowledged that all stakeholders need to work together to ensure the successful implementation of Waste-to Energy technologies.

South Africa has progressed in the development of strategies aimed at expanding the waste and energy sector, but there is still vast potential in creating a specific WtE management framework. In countries with further developed WtE implementation, every level of government is involved in setting and implementing the criteria for the permitting process of WtE projects while the local municipalities are responsible for the management and monitoring process. Best practice from the international policy review suggests having a locally drafted specific and fully aligned Waste-to-Energy policy and roadmap to advice all levels of government and stakeholders. WtE policies can be a driver in motivating and supporting WtE projects if they are developed in consultation with all levels of government and relevant stakeholders being included in an open and deliberated process.

Figure: Key elements of the South African WtE roadmap

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