WINDHOEK, November 28 — As the global shift towards sustainability gains momentum, renewable hydrogen emerges as a key player in achieving ambitious decarbonization goals. Recognizing this potential, the European Union (EU) has entered into a strategic partnership with Namibia, a nation abundant in renewable energy resources. This collaboration aims to position Namibia as a competitive producer of clean hydrogen and contribute up to 20% of the EU’s energy mix by 2050.
The EU and Namibia’s partnership aligns with their respective priorities. The EU seeks access to alternative, cost-competitive energy sources while maintaining sustainability standards. Simultaneously, Namibia aims to drive industrialization, economic growth, and development through renewable hydrogen exports, fostering energy and water access, job creation, and skills training.
The partnership gained momentum with the launch of an operational roadmap in October, outlining steps between 2023 and 2025 for green industrialization and decarbonization through renewable hydrogen and raw materials. While commendable, a clear understanding of conditions and priorities is essential to avoid market gaps and ensure efficient production.
The current ambiguity in trading conditions requires collaboration between the EU and Namibia to integrate and clarify import-export frameworks. Aligning criteria with both parties’ priorities will ensure the mutual benefit of energy security, decarbonization for the EU, and economic growth and innovation for Namibia.
Trade should not only contribute to the EU’s goals but also support Namibia’s energy mix and industrial processes. The EU’s support in providing equipment, investing in local labour training, and backing research and development is crucial. Establishing frameworks for quantifying mitigated CO2 emissions is equally vital for recognizing climate mitigation efforts.
The ‘chicken-or-egg’ dilemma in hydrogen development necessitates simultaneous growth in demand and supply. Financing sources, investments, and infrastructure certainty are crucial for Namibia’s ability to supply large-scale renewable hydrogen. EU commitments, such as €1 billion for infrastructure, Germany’s €40 million investment, and a €1 billion sovereign wealth fund in partnership with the Namibian government, provide a solid foundation for overcoming financing challenges.
The EU-Namibia partnership in renewable hydrogen holds immense promise for a sustainable future. Clarity in trading conditions, universal energy access, and strategic financing are key elements that will propel this collaboration towards achieving its ambitious goals.