TAMPA, Florida — Namibia’s workforce is about to grow thanks to new energy bids from the European Union. Hosted by the World Economic Forum, global elites in the Swiss Alps are interested in the energy plan from Namibia. Namibia’s green hydrogen project was announced in 2021 and the European Commission wants to double its hydrogen target by 2030.
Power Generation in Namibia Benefits South Africa
Namibia imports most of its power through bilateral contracts with South Africa’s national power utility Eskom and the South African Power Pool. Green hydrogen is a big enough addition to Namibia’s power pool that Namibia can generate enough electricity to trade with the rest of South Africa.
South Africa’s goal to deploy 10 GW of electrolysis in the Northern Cape by 2030 is going to create 15,000 skilled labor jobs in Namibia and an additional 20,000 every year. As of 2020, only 56% of Namibians have access to electricity and 21.6% do not have jobs. Young people need help the most, with 40% of them in need of work.
“Renewables are key to overcoming energy poverty, providing needed energy services without damaging human health or ecosystems and enabling a transformation of economies in support of development and industrialization,” said the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report developed in conjunction with the African Development Bank.
Generating Electricity Without Harmful Emissions
Green hydrogen has the potential to capture 10 hours of sunlight per day for 300 days per year. This year 40% of Namibia’s power came from coal plants. Green energy could reduce South Africa’s carbon footprint and harmful emissions.
Namibia has the highest solar irradiance potential of any country in Africa and the European Commission plans to import 10 million tons of renewable green hydrogen from South Africa per year as part of its 2030 REPowerEU plan to replace fossil fuels in industries, according to DW.
Southern Africa has seen an increase in investments in renewable energy, according to IRENA. “Average annual investments in renewable energy grew ten-fold from less than half a billion in the 2000 to 2009 period, to $5 billion in 2010 to 2020,” said IRENA.
Green hydrogen is produced by separating hydrogen from water using renewable energy. Renewable wind turbines or solar energy provide the energy to split seawater molecules into hydrogen or oxygen. Lots of wind and sunshine off the long coastline could make Namibia a vital place to capture precious energy.
With Namibia’s green hydrogen, the country hopes to wean itself off of energy imports. NamPower, Namibia’s largest utility, imports 67.4% of the country’s electricity from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP,) the cooperation of electric companies in Southern Africa. Electricity is an expensive commodity there and renewable energy is labor intensive.
European Imports from the South African Power Pool
Carbon dioxide accounts for 65% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As the recipient of South Africa’s Power Pool, Namibia is no exception. Climate neutrality before the end of the century is antiquated by today’s policy. The Paris Agreement underlines how to bridge the difference in policy. Governments agreed to undertake rapid reductions to balance emissions and removals in the second half of the century.
The Paris Agreement is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement. Governments come together every five years to assess the progress towards long-term goals and inform related parties of their contributions. The long-term aim is to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In response to the Paris Agreement, green hydrogen reduces Namibia’s energy dependency and greenhouse gas emissions. Namibia’s green hydrogen has the capability to diversify energy into the national grid to maximize energy reliability when different utilities go down.
Namibia’s economy used to profit from diamonds and fishing booms. The preferred bidder for construction, Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, is set to build the hydrogen plant in the port town of Lüderitz in 2026. Mr. Balhoa, a member of the council who approved plans for the plant said it is “the third revolution of Lüderitz.”
Green Hydrogen Employs Local Populace
The $9.4 billion green hydrogen project could employ 90% of locals. Germany, Belgium and Netherlands showed interest in investing in the green hydrogen plant, according to DW. Berlin pledges $42.6 million at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos this year for the green hydrogen project in Namibia.
Renewable energy from wind and solar is an up-and-coming Namibia project that will reduce South Africa’s carbon footprint. Both South African and European benefactors are excited about the jobs green hydrogen will create.
– Bryant Morisseau