As the global community accelerates its journey towards renewable energy, the green hydrogen potential in Sub-Saharan Africa has emerged as a potent factor for sustainable energy and economic development. The region’s abundant renewable resources combined with advancing technology can pave the way for a green hydrogen revolution.
Understanding the Green Hydrogen Potential in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa, a region blessed with vast sun and wind resources, presents a formidable green hydrogen potential. Its practical yield for photovoltaic solar energy installations stands significantly higher than Europe, with an average of 4.34 kWh/kWp/day compared to Europe’s 3.44 kWh/kWp/day. Almost a third of this region can generate more than 5 kWh/kWp/day of photovoltaic output, emphasizing its exceptional solar potential. The coasts of Namibia, South Africa, and Kenya are also strongholds for wind energy. Harnessing these renewable resources for green hydrogen production can present an economically viable solution, with production costs potentially falling under €2 per kilogram by 2030.
South Africa’s Drive to Tap the Green Hydrogen Potential
South Africa’s ambitious vision to tap into the green hydrogen potential in Sub-Saharan Africa is evident in its strategic planning and projects. The South African Hydrogen Society Roadmap released in 2022 outlines a framework for decarbonizing the industry and transportation sectors and creating a thriving export market for green hydrogen and green ammonia. The Platinum Valley Initiative, in partnership with Hydrogen Council members Anglo American and ENGIE, targets the development of a centralized hydrogen valley. This innovative venture is expected to contribute significantly to the South African GDP and job market while also aiding in decarbonizing critical sectors.
Namibia’s and Kenya’s Endeavours to Leverage Green Hydrogen Potential
In the race to leverage the green hydrogen potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia and Kenya are taking critical steps. Namibia is investing in the Southern Corridor Development Initiative, a project expected to produce 300,000 tons of green hydrogen by 2030 using 5-6 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity. This initiative not only offers a solution to Namibia’s energy woes but also prepares the nation for a thriving export market.
Similarly, Kenya is investing in partnerships to cultivate an East African green hydrogen hub. KenGen’s investment in geothermal plants has nearly doubled the country’s electricity access, providing an encouraging platform for the development of green hydrogen and its derivatives.
The Future of Green Hydrogen in Sub-Saharan Africa
The future of the green hydrogen potential in Sub-Saharan Africa is promising but requires addressing inequities in energy networks and supportive investment environments. Only half of the national populations have access to electricity grids in 24 out of the 48 countries in the region. Addressing this discrepancy is crucial for fully utilizing green hydrogen’s potential. With strategic focus on nations like South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya, successful programs and investments can be expanded across the region over the next 30 years.
The African Green Hydrogen Alliance can play a pivotal role by broadening its membership and connecting nations like Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia, which possess significant wind and solar resources. By adopting effective strategies to expand electricity grids and sustainable energy, these regional leaders can drive the production of green hydrogen while setting a strong foundation for export markets to Europe and Asia.
Feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions.
· Julius Moerder, Head of Energy Transition Centre firstname.lastname@example.org
· Oneyka Ojogbo, Head of Energy Transition Centre, Nigeria & West Africa email@example.com
· Leon van Der Merwe, Head of Energy Transition Centre, South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Memoona Tawfiq