The first independent landfill gas-to-power project in Johannesburg has begun operations, marking an achievement in the Department of Energy’s renewable electricity independent power procurement programme (REIPPP).

The project at the Robinson Deep landfill site is capable of generating 3MW of renewable electricity, which will supply more than 5,500 homes. It is the first stage of a £7.2m investment in five landfill gas generation plants in the area.

ENERGY Systems is responsible for the project's development and is part of UK-headquartered Ylem Energy, formerly known as ENER-G Natural Power.

Commenting on the achievement, ENERGY Systems' general manager David Cornish said: "We are very proud to work with our partners to begin commercial operation of South Africa's largest and only independent landfill gas-to-power project.

"This will bring much-needed renewable power supplies to the country and make an impressive contribution to greenhouse gas reduction."

“This will bring much-needed renewable power supplies to the country and make an impressive contribution to greenhouse gas reduction. We are also pleased to create jobs and share the benefits with both the municipality and community.

"The success of this project owes much to the City Council of Johannesburg, whose long-term support has enabled us to keep the project on track, despite challenges along the way.

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“This is one of many landfill gas generation projects globally by our parent company Ylem Energy, which has manufactured, installed and operates in excess of 150MW of biogas power generation.”

ENERGY Systems holds a major stake in the project, along with the state-owned Central Energy Fund (SOE), and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) company Secure Rock Enterprises. The project took eight years for completion, with the City Council of Johannesburg as a joint partner.

The five facilities will have the potential to produce a maximum 11MW of renewable energy, which could reduce the city's carbon footprint by approximately 459,034t annually.

A second facility is scheduled to open at Goudkoppies in March next year, which will have the ability to supply 2MW-3MW of green power.

It will be followed by another plant at Marie Louise, a 1MW at Ennerdale, and a 1MW Linbro Park facility scheduled for completion in 2018.