According to French energy multinational ENGIE, South Africa may emerge as a global green hydrogen leader due to its abundant renewable resources, specifically in solar and wind. In turn, the development of green hydrogen will generate both domestic energy and export revenues, as well as expand job opportunities and spur industrialization.
Speaking at a recent Nedbank webinar, Koen Langie, Senior Hydrogen Solutions Developer at ENGIE Africa, Power and Gas, highlighted South Africa’s unique green hydrogen potential, which includes a domestic market potential of approximately $10 billion per year, supported by rising energy demand from mining, minerals, steel, transport and petrochemicals sectors.
In addition to domestic power use, Langie indicated that South Africa has an even more impressive export potential, valued at approximately $100 billion. By maximizing its renewable resources, the country could export green hydrogen to high-demand countries that current lack the renewable inputs needed for their own hydrogen development.
“As ENGIE, we are focusing on countries with competitive renewables and energy-intensive sectors to kick-start the market locally,” said Langie. “But eventually, we want to export hydrogen, so that we can really export renewable energy from one country to another, and this is certainly where South Africa could have a role in exporting to Europe or Japan, or other countries that have a deficit of renewable energy.”
Green hydrogen provides a transitionary energy source, which utilizes climate-friendly sources to decarbonize high-emission sectors, such as transport.