In the name of climate #17: the green projects of Namibia

We try every month to dispel some widespread beliefs about the environment, climate change and the ecological transition. In this edition: Namibia aims at becoming a point of reference in the African continent and not only for production from renewable sources.

Namibia is counting much on renewable sources with the objective of attracting foreign investments and restoring the country’s economy. In particular, the southern African State has the intention of transforming a large port area into a plant for the development of "green" (also called "clean") hydrogen, produced that is from renewable sources with very low greenhouse gas emissions – and considered for decades, in some contexts, an ecosustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

The city chosen by the government for this project is called Lüderitz; it is a former German colony and today has a population of about 15,000. Its advantage is that it faces the Atlantic Ocean, and is almost always sunny and exposed to strong winds: all ideal characteristics for the production of hydrogen from renewable sources.

The idea is to obtain approximately 300,000 tonnes a year of "green" hydrogen. The maritime position of Lüderitz would also make it possible to export it easily, but in addition there would other advantages: the BBC reports that according to the president Hage Geingob the income from this new industry will be reinvested in agriculture, logistics and transport, making it possible for example to develop trains powered by clean hydrogen.

Among the African countries that are investing most in renewable energies – above all South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya – Namibia is considered one of the most advanced (Jessie Crettenden/Pexels)

In addition, it is calculated that electricity production from renewable sources will be such as to enable the country to export it, as well as to make itself independent from imports of energy produced with coal in South Africa.

Namibia plans to start producing "green" hydrogen from 2026, having previously trained and recruited approximately 18,000 people (of whom 90 per cent Namibian), so as to lower also the current unemployment rate of Lüderitz which reaches 55 per cent.

The project has been entrusted to Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, a private company which will maintain the rights on the initiative for the next 40 years and which was set up following collaboration between an investment fund based in the British Virgin Islands and a German company, specialised in the development of projects involving renewable energies.

The project in Namibia – which has already made agreements with Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to finance some of its green initiatives – could become a model for the numerous countries interested in investing in decarbonisation, also and above all in the African continent, considered an ideal place for the production of clean hydrogen.