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Business / Economics

Aspirations and reality of Namibia’s Green Hydrogen dream – Dr. Hage Geingob

todayMay 8, 2024 20

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By Josef Kefas Sheehama

 

His Excellency Dr. Geingob’s vision has been realized as Namibia has made major strides to establish itself as a major player in the world of green hydrogen production. The transformation of Namibia’s economy and the realization of green hydrogen in the country were spearheaded by Dr. Geingob.

Drawing on the proverb that states “Rome was not built in a day”. This serves as a reminder that significant and great accomplishments require time and work. Success in any endeavor demands years of patience, perseverance, and long-term thinking. It is fair that we revisit His Excellency Dr. Hage G Geingob role in the economic governance of Namibia, particularly, some of the economic policies and programmes that laid the foundation for the country’s economic growth. Although some of the critics and economic analysts, over the years, have downplayed the realization of green hydrogen on the country’s overall development. President Geingob leveraged on his personal qualities and principles of integrity, accountability and service to champion the implementation of those economic reforms. His economic strategy has been the identification of poverty reduction as an overarching objective of ensuring macroeconomic stability, which is crucial for ensuring sustainable economic growth. Therefore, it is worthy to note that the economic policies and reforms rolled out by the President saw progress in poverty reduction and employment creation.

Furthermore, as part of the transition to a carbon neutral environment, it is evident that there is political and ideological pressure to make hydrogen a vital part of the energy mix. As a result, green hydrogen has the potential to significantly contribute to these efforts by displacing carbon-intensive fuels throughout the economy and resulting in significant emission reductions.

The economy will benefit greatly from the establishment of a reliable domestic energy supply, which will also lower imports from nearby nations. Notably, the development of a domestic green hydrogen market will spur the formation of numerous domestic businesses and generate thousands of jobs for the local population in every industry along the value chain. The aforementioned development has positioned Namibia to enhance clean energy and fulfill the most important directive of the COP26. Member nations decided to focus on the tougher 1.5C aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement, realizing that the 2C target would allow massive destruction to occur.

This development will not only benefit Namibia but supports the Research conducted that since the Paris Agreement was signed has shown a temperature rise of 2C above pre-industrial levels which would cause changes to the climate system that would be, in many cases, catastrophic, and some of them would be irreversible, so switching the focus to a 1.5C goal represents vital progress. Hence, the COP27 emphasis on climate finance, adaptation and loss and damage, issues of vital importance to developing nations. The energy crisis and economic woes of the past year could even make Cop27 a turning point towards clean energy and a low-carbon. Namibia has world class conditions for generating renewable electricity through solar and wind power, which are key drivers to reduce the production cost of green hydrogen. To exploit and benefit from this potential, the Namibian Government has high ambitions for both building large scale solar and wind farms and producing green energy carriers and raw materials.

Moreover, we should acknowledge what is already being achieved in our country and take a pragmatic and realistic view of what can feasibly be achieved in the short, medium and long term. The road toward a green hydrogen economy will not be an easy one as future demand and the structure of the market remain uncertain. To reach net zero emissions will require significant investment in current and new clean technologies, and away from fossil fuels. Against this background, to realize the true potential of hydrogen locally and to capture the benefits, policy support mechanisms are essential for the penetration of green hydrogen into multiple sectors and encourage sector coupling. I view green hydrogen as the path forward to full decarburization in a way that is reliable. It is important to note that green hydrogen can create more space for renewables by driving electrolysis with energy that would otherwise be curtailed. These renewable resources have the potential not only to meet Namibia’s domestic energy needs but also to position Namibia as a major exporter of clean energy and goods exhibiting a local content.

It is my belief that a green economy can only be achieved through the commitment and actions of multiple sectors and stakeholders in society including government, business and individuals. Decisions at these levels have the potential to transform local and regional economies, while

having a pronounced impact on the way in which communities and individuals within society live. In addition a range of enabling conditions, strategic priorities and policy reforms will be required for the redirection of investments and the reconfiguration of infrastructure to support a green hydrogen economy.

Namibia should give green hydrogen top priority as a possible decarbonization solution to support these ongoing initiatives. Green hydrogen has the potential to significantly enhance the standard of living for residents by generating jobs, boosting foreign direct investment (FDI) in Namibia, and assisting the nation in achieving its sustainability goals. Along with increasing energy self-sufficiency, increased energy generation will result in surplus energy that can be exported to neighboring countries.

In light of the future prospects that green hydrogen holds for Namibia, genuine action is necessary to ensure that the nation fully takes advantage of these opportunities. For green hydrogen projects to maximize benefits and minimize negative effects on local communities, good corporate governance, community engagement, and transparent practices are critical. To ensure that the government will act to address high-level dishonesty and the potential risk of conflicts of interest, appropriate policy frameworks are required. Avoiding this at all costs is advised.

To conclude, we are reminded of the great responsibility we have to uphold the vision and continue the work of His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob as we continue his work. As a vital element of a future energy system based on sustainable practices, green hydrogen has enormous potential.

As His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob’s vision states, the creation and application of green hydrogen has the potential to greatly improve energy security, promote economic expansion, and decarbonize a number of industries.

Written by: Dilia Mazula

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