Namibia calls for collaboration in implementing green hydrogen projects

A collaborative energy approach, like that of the European Union (EU), is needed in Southern Africa, says Namibia’s presidential economic advisor James Mnyupe.

At least South Africa and Namibia should put together a case that shows seriousness about decarbonising Sub Saharan Africa, says Mnyupe, with the two countries looking to share with the world the burden of building the required pipeline and transmission line infrastructure.

Mnyupe, who was a panel member at the Hydrogen Economy Discussion, says EU-like collaborative regional and continental approaches are needed in the renewable energy and green hydrogen space.

Mnyupe says African policy makers need to be aware of the different policy toolbox needed for African countries playing different roles .

For example, Namibia is poised to be an exporter of green hydrogen, South Africa perhaps a net importer and others playing a self-sufficient role.

“If you look at Morocco, it may export but it has really large industries that it may need to decarbonise, and South Africa might very well be a good example of that as well.

“Depending on what type of country you are, you will need to think strategically about the different pieces of legislation and policy that you would want to be championing.

“For example, if you are an exporter like Namibia, you will be thinking very hard about securing offtake agreements with clientele countries,” he highlights.

For others the focus will be on regulating pricing for the use of specific infrastructure, such as pipelines and ports, and the need for some of that infrastructure needing to be common-user infrastructure so that the original builder of the pipeline does not necessarily restrict access to others down the line.

From an upstream perspective, there will be a need for collocating assets in a way that makes sense.

In Namibia, with both good wind and solar in one jurisdiction, will need to ensure that it puts legislation for special economic zones around the generating assets to facilitate industrialisation clusters or a hydrogen valley around the generation assets.

Thought needs to be given to the prospect of assembling wind blades close to where the wind turbines will be located to negate the need to transport these large pieces of infrastructure over long distances.

“Once you figure out whether you are a net importer or a net exporter, something that I think is very important from an African perspective as well as beginning to think about inter-regional trade,” he adds.

He foresees not only green molecules in the form of green hydrogen and its derivatives being transported around Southern Africa but also green electrons in the form of renewable energy.

It could be that South Africa will be importing some of the molecules from Namibia to decarbonise its hard-to-abate sectors.

“The one thing I would like to remind all African states to bear in mind is that hydrogen is not purely a molecule play. When you deploy very large renewable energy assets at scale, you will be getting electron connectivity You could capture some of that, use that to become self-sufficient but possibly to trade electrons as well into the Southern African Power Pool.

Both Namibia and South Africa are looking at green hydrogen business models, which could give rise to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) modelling its regulatory framework on that of the EU.-miningweekly

 

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Last modified on Friday, 23 September 2022 02:01

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