French independent power producer HDF Energy has announced that its green hydrogen power plant in Namibia, Africa’s first, will begin producing electricity in 2024.
The Swakopmund project is expected to cost 3.1 billion Namibian dollars ($181.25 million) to build. Once commissioned, it will supply clean electricity year-round, 24 hours a day. Currently, 40% of Namibia's electricity comes from neighboring South Africa.
Namibia, with plenty of sunlight and least densely populated, wants to harness its huge potential for solar and wind energy to produce green hydrogen and establish itself as an African powerhouse for renewable energy.
Hydrogen that generated with renewable energy is considered “green.” It’s seen as key to help decarbonize industry. However, the technology remains immature and costly.
The project is expected to use 85 MW of solar panels to power electrolyzers that produce hydrogen, which can be stored.
"Yearly we can produce 142 gigawatt hours, enough for 142,000 inhabitants and that is conservative," said Nicolas Lecomte, HDF Energy director for southern Africa.
HDF Energy is also interested in developing new projects in Africa and other regions of the world. “Soon after southern Africa you will see HDF developing projects in east Africa,” Lecomte said.
The European Union also plans to sign a contract with Namibia to help the nation develop green hydrogen industry and increase its own imports of the fuel, as the bloc works to wean itself off Russian energy.
Another Namibian-registered company, Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, is negotiating with the government to secure a deal for its planned $10 billion green hydrogen project, which is expected to produce about 350,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030 for both global and regional markets.