The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) marks a significant milestone in the Green Hydrogen developments in Southern Africa. This comes amid a global movement to transform the global energy sector into one which contributes to climate-friendly products.
SASSCAL successfully hosted a four-day virtual Green Hydrogen Regional Data Validation Workshop from the 2nd to the 5th of August 2021. The high-level opening ceremony, held on Monday 2nd of August 2021, attracted various high-level personalities from members of SASSCAL Council of Ministers, Minister representatives from SADC, Ambassadors, High commissioners, SASSCAL Board Members, Heads of Developmental Agencies, Businesses, and other relevant stakeholders in SADC. The opening ceremony was presided by Dr. Jane Olwoch, Executive Director of SASSCAL.
The aim of this workshop was to provide an opportunity for the 16 members Southern Africa Regional Technical Committee (SA-RTC), comprising of group of experts to assess, review and validate the bulk of the data collected at the National level. The SA-RTC is chaired by SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch. The validation process is part of the implementation activities under the H2Atlas project. As part of the project implementation, sixty scientists and engineers have been collecting input data required to develop the H2Atlas, Southern Africa for the last ten Months. The National Teams are composed of five Members in each of the 12 Countries in SADC that are participating in the H2Atlas Africa Project. Participating countries are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
During the opening ceremony SASSCAL Governing Board Chair Mrs. Jane Chinkusu said “At regional level we all are aware of climate change and the adverse effect on the region, therefore there is an urgent need to invest in adaptation and mitigation actions, as well as contribute in the regional capacity to deal with, hence the production of the Green Hydrogen Atlas is a welcomed move.”
In his opening remark the German Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Herbert Beck highlighted that Germany’s national hydrogen strategy includes a hydrogen partnership with Africa to import Green Hydrogen to Germany. He further emphasized “The German government is focused on supporting economic development in partner countries by supporting the build-up of a hydrogen industry while reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”
Executive Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, water and Land Reform, Mr. Percy Misika stated “Southern Africa in general and Namibia in particular find themselves in the locality of most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as a result the topics of going green, decarbonisation and climate change resilience come to the forefront whenever we consider developmental aspirations, programs and projects”.
H2Atlas Project Coordinator, Dr. Solomon Agbo discussed the benefits of Green Hydrogen technology to the region and highlighted on two points that must be addressed prior to reaping benefits/profits; i) to create a socio-economic climate that’s friendly for business ii) it’s important to enact and implement relevant policies and regulations that supports the development of Green Hydrogen within the region, as well as coordination both nationally and regionally to develop relevant regulatory frameworks that the technology will drive on.
The H2Atlas project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). SASSCAL is the coordinating partner in Southern Africa and has collaborated with the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) as a technical implementing partner. The immediate outcome of the project will be an interactive atlas, showing identified Green Hydrogen hotspots. It is envisaged that such a map will provide evidence-based information for policy-makers, researchers, and potential funders about the potential of a Green Hydrogen economy in the region.
In her concluding remarks, Dr. Olwoch acknowledged all the participants and their contributions to the first Green Hydrogen Regional Data Validation Workshop and shedding light on H2Atlas project next steps in Southern Africa. She further emphasized SASSCAL’s commitment to work together with relevant institutions in Southern Africa in order to contribute to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy while supporting sustainable development aspirations of SADC member states.