South Africa plans to produce 12m tons of green hydrogen annually by 2050, with over half to be exported to neighboring countries for decarbonization, as reported by Bloomberg on November 15. Masopha Moshoeshoe, a green economy specialist in the South African Presidency’s investment and infrastructure office, submitted the plan at the COP27 summit in Egypt. According to Moshoeshoe, South Africa aims to attract USD250bn of investment for its emerging green hydrogen industry by 2050. By then, the country would produce 8m tons of clean-burning fuel and its derivatives for exports, along with 2 to 5m tons for meeting local demand.
South Africa intends to tap its abundant wind and solar power resources to shift from an economy reliant on coal, which contributes more than 80% of the nation’s electricity output. However, the transition means the country’s renewable power generation capacity will need to reach between 140,000 and 300,000 megawatts (MW), compared to its current overall power generation capacity of around 40,000 MW. In addition, it requires the massive construction of electrolyzers to make green hydrogen from water. South Africa and other five countries from the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance (AGHA) bet on the world’s growing demand for hydrogen. According to an analytical report from McKinsey, if governments globally fulfill their existing commitments to reducing emissions, the global demand for green hydrogen produced using renewable energy will surge sevenfold from today’s levels to 67m tons by 2050. In that scenario, the six members of the AGHA could supply over one-fifth of the world’s green hydrogen consumption.