Africa’s first hybrid green hydrogen project worth N$4.5 billion on the cards near Swakop
By Adolf Kaure.
International energy company, Hydrogen Development Federation (HDF) Energy’s Director for Southern and Eastern Africa, Nicolas Lecomte has announced that the first large scale green hydrogen project in Africa will be contructed on the outskirts of Swakopmund at an investment cost of N$4.5 billion, during a Swakopmund Business Forum engagement last Wednesday.
The project will provide 50MW of power during the day and 6MW during the night as well as 85MW in total of solar and 230MWh of storage.
“It is a hybrid power plant that is a combination of equipment and technologies which all together provide the overall profile,” he said.
According to Lecomte, the company has the big five commercial banks in Southern Africa for funding.
“Most of them have responded with a higher appetite, provided indicative terms and ready to come for the debt.”
“We are now discussing with investors to point [out] which is the next step in the project and these conversations are going well.”
Locals are set to benefits from the spin-offs from the project, not only in the form of employment but also in skills.
The HDF Energy Regional Director added that the company recently started working with the United Nations World Food Programme to prepare block farms and gardens for the nearby communities like the DRC informal settlement and Mondesa of Swakopmund.
The block farms are intended to provide residents of these townships an opportunity to grow and sell vegetables.
“This is key for us to maximise the impact of the project and we are very happy to work with the United Nations. They have been successfully growing food in the Sahara Desert, so why not in the desert areas around Swakopmund,” said Lecomte.
He described the only challenge facing the project as the connection to NamPower.
“NamPower really appreciates the project and really likes the project. The challenge that we have been facing in the development phaze, has been the fact that this was from their view too expensive.”
“That project will exist if a (PPA) public private partnership agreement is signed with NamPower, where NamPower buys power from the grid services over a long period of time.”
“Yes, green hydrogen is a new technology. We have received the support of Europe through subsidies, which will be deployed. The aim of it is to lower the price of electricity for NamPower and consumers. I think the last obsticle for us has been to get NamPower to come to the table and the price was the key obstacle and we [are] solving it. We are discussing the grid services with NamPower and the permit.”
The project will be situated on Swakopmund municipal land on the Henties Bay road, strategically located 5km away from the Atlantic Ocean, HDF Energy has a permit to operate a desalination plant to feed the plant with 70 cubic metres of water for its daily operations.
With the clearance certificate expected to be obtained in the upcoming weeks, efforts to get a mining license have also commenced as the project to contruct the plant are projected to begin mid-2024.
A scale model of the proposed hybrid hydrogen project as displayed at the Swakopmund Business Forum engagement. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)