In an effort to position South Africa as a global hub for green hydrogen production, the provinces of Eastern, Northern, and Western Cape have joined forces. These provinces are hosting potential multibillion-dollar green hydrogen projects and have been working individually to develop strategies.
However, they have recognized the benefits of cooperation over competition in areas such as infrastructure, skills development, and policy and regulation development. They are also open to extending this collaboration to include green-hydrogen aspirant Namibia, creating a Southern African Development Community hydrogen corridor. This collaboration is formalized in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance green hydrogen initiatives.
The Western Cape aims to develop Saldanha Bay into a green hydrogen production center and sees the Atlantis Special Economic Zone as a key hub for green-hydrogen value chain components. The Northern Cape has finalized its Green Hydrogen Roadmap, with potential investments ranging from $300 billion to $500 billion by 2050. The Eastern Cape plans to implement its strategy primarily in the Coega Special Economic Zone.
The collaboration among these provinces aligns with the draft Green Hydrogen Commercialization Strategy, which has been under development since 2021 and is awaiting government approval. The strategy aims to maximize the social, economic, and trade benefits of green hydrogen and its value chain.
Additionally, green hydrogen initiatives extend beyond these provinces and include projects in regions like the Free State and Mpumalanga, where Sasol is exploring green hydrogen for sustainable aviation fuels and other products. The strategy will emphasize domestic and export components, focusing on leveraging global market opportunities to develop a commercial-scale green hydrogen industry in South Africa.
This collective effort aims to promote green hydrogen as a clean energy carrier and support sectors that face challenges in decarbonizing directly using renewable electricity, such as steel, petrochemicals, fertilizers, cement, and long-haul transportation.
The draft Green Hydrogen Commercialization Strategy is currently under consideration by the government, with expectations of approval in the near future. The goal is to accelerate the use of green hydrogen in heavy industries for decarbonization and re-industrialization.
The signing of the trilateral MoU among these provinces signifies a shift from individual strategies to collective cooperation, enhancing the prospects for green hydrogen development in South Africa.