United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Cities around the world need to scale up their renewable energy projects to help to reduce emissions, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretary Christiana Figueres said on Friday.

“There are many projects around the world and all we have to do now is to scale them up,” she told delegates at a cities and local government convention in Durban.

The convention is one of the side events of the main climate talks, Cop17, and is aimed at crafting plans to help cities or municipalities deal with the impact of climate change.

Cities needed to be smart when scaling up projects by looking at opportunities that both benefited people and reduced carbon emissions, Figueres said.

They also needed to be strategic when structuring their projects.

The projects also needed to include the private sector.

“We have to look beyond the government sphere when we implement these projects.”

Durban’s project, which generates electricity from landfill site gas, was an inspiring project that had to be emulated by others.

Figueres said the project had been chosen by the UN as one of the 10 inspiring renewable energy projects in the world.

“The city has done well and has to look at how it can take it to a further scale. The city needs to do more.”

She said she would visit the Bisasar Road landfill site next week.

The plant captures harmful methane gas from the Bisasar Road landfill site and produces eight megawatts of electricity.

It is said to be the first landfill gas project on the African continent and is expected to serve the municipality for another eight years.

The electricity generated helps relieve national power shortages and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by conventional coal-fired power stations. – Sapa