This study explored technologies for recovering energy from wastewater through production of biomass, combustion and gasification, generation of biogas, production of bioethanol, heat recovery and microbial fuel cells. A first order desktop analysis of the potential for applying these solutions to wastewaters in South Africa revealed that 3 200 to 9 000 MWth of energy has potential for recovery, equating to at most 7% of South Africa’s current electrical power supply. Formal and informal animal husbandry, fruit and beverage industries and domestic blackwater were identified as wastewaters with the greatest potential for energy recovery. Of the reviewed technologies, anaerobic digestion shows applicability to the widest range of feedstocks. Net energy generated, reduction in pollution, and water reclamation are identified as the main benefits, but additional benefits such as certified emission reductions, fertiliser production and the production of secondary products may dictate the economic feasibility.