The Bulawayo City Council is working on plans to set up a biogas project that will see it generating electricity from sewage waste as it intensifies efforts to establish alternative sources of revenue.
The project will be supported by the South African city of Durban, also known as eThekwini, city engineer Simela Dube revealed on Wednesday.
Dube was speaking at a “think-tank” debate organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association to explore how the city can survive without overreliance on income from ratepayers.
“We are doing a paper with Durban where we are looking at energy generation from sewage,” he said.
“Durban has been doing it and earns numerous kilowatts from the project that they inject into the system to supplement Eskom’s provisions. I cannot say as a city we also expect to get as much energy because our population is far less than that of Durban.”
Energy shortages have been cited as one of the reasons companies are closing down in Bulawayo leaving the country’s second biggest city and the country’s former industrial capital a ghost town.
By the end of the year in 2011, at least 87 companies had closed shop in the city. Council used to own the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station, which was taken over by Zesa.
Town clerk Middleton Nyoni said council was still trying to bear on Zesa to return the thermal power station to the local authority.
“We have instituted some form of litigation which was started by the town clerk before me,” Nyoni said.
“However, there seems to be problems at every turn.
“For example, you will see that Zesa is announcing further unbundling and you end up not knowing which is which.
“We are, however, targeting Zesa Holdings as an entity.” Zesa maintains that a decision to return the power station should be made by Parliament.