WINDHOEK, November 17 — Namibia’s aspirations in the green hydrogen sector are under scrutiny due to concerns related to transparency, environmental impact, and the involvement of a controversial investor.
Despite being viewed as a potential global leader in green hydrogen production, Namibia’s plans for a large-scale green hydrogen project near Lüderitz have sparked apprehension. Issues include questions about the project’s selection process, potential environmental repercussions, and the participation of an investor with a history of questionable business practices.
Critics highlight the perceived lack of transparency in the tender process for the project, overseen by the Namibian Investment Development & Promotion Board (NIDPB). The NIDPB asserts that the process was carried out with “utmost transparency and fairness,” but concerns persist.
Environmental worries surround the project, which necessitates the establishment of a desalination plant, a wind farm, and a solar plant. The proximity of the Tsau//Khaeb National Park, housing seals, penguins, flamingos, and ostriches, to the project site has raised conservation concerns.
Hyphen, the entity driving the project, is a joint venture between German renewable energy company Enertrag and Nicholas Holdings Limited, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. Notably, the ultimate owner of Nicholas Holdings Limited is South African investor Brian Myerson.
Myerson, a controversial figure banned from mergers for three years by the UK Takeover Appeal Board in 2010 for “behaving dishonestly,” raises additional qualms about the project’s credibility.
Despite these reservations, the Namibian government remains committed to the project, anticipating the creation of thousands of jobs and a positive economic impact. The government asserts its dedication to ensuring the project’s sustainable and responsible development.
Namibia’s green hydrogen industry is still in its early stages, leaving uncertainty about whether the country can fulfil its ambitions to become a global leader. Nonetheless, the Lüderitz project marks a significant stride forward, capturing the attention of the international community as it unfolds.