Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo has met with South Africa’s Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopain Windhoek on Friday to strengthen bilateral ties in the energy sector.
The meeting spurred discussions of cooperation for green hydrogen in both countries to solve the South African Development Community (SADC) energy shortage, as well as South African interest in the Kudu gas project.
While speaking to the media, Alweendo stated that Namibia has various collaborations with neighbouring South Africa, and that the visit was especially crucial given the region’s energy shortfall.
“We all know that we don’t have enough energy, especially electricity. Therefore, the visit was for us to start to think about how do we as a region close that deficit,” Alweendosaid.
He explained that because both countries are working on green hydrogen projects, there is a possibility for partnering.
“Therefore, if we are all developing this in the region, there is room for us to make sure that we pull our efforts so that we cannot become competitors,” Alweendo stated.
South Africa launched a R300 billion ($20 billion) investment pipeline as part of the country’s Green Hydrogen National Programme, which has been recognised as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP) for rapid development under the country’s Infrastructure Development Act.
By 2050, the country hopes to create up to 13 million tonnes of green hydrogen and derivatives each year.
Meanwhile, Namibia aims to develop a green fuels industry capable of producing 10-12 million tonnes per year of hydrogen equivalent by 2050.
The discussion, according to Namibia’s Energy Minister, was also focused on infrastructure the country shareswith its neighbour.
“We had discussions around the issue of infrastructure, how to wheel electricity between the two countries.”
Alweendo also mentioned that the two parties discussed Namibia’s kudu gas.
BW Energy operates the Kudu conventional gas development, which is located in shallow water in Namibia.
The project is now at the feed stage and is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2026.
In early 2017, BW Energy signed into a farm-in agreement for a 56% operational interest with Namcor holding a 44% joint venture investment.
BW Energy signed a Farm-up agreement with Namcor, raising the company’s interest in the licence to 95%, and the deal was completed in 2021.
“We also had discussions around the development of kudu gas to power. The discussion was around how South Africa can be part of that development to make sure that we can then both benefit from the gas to power development,” Alweendo said.
Ramokgopa believes that the fact that South Africa continues to deliver electricity to Namibia despite the majority of its well-documented energy and electricity issues demonstrates the strength of the country’s relationship with Namibia.
“The intensity of load shedding is a technical instrument that we deploy when demand exceeds generation and we use that to ensure that we are able to protect the grid. That intensity is beginning to lessen,” he said.
“Part of the strategy is to engage with neighbouring countries to the extent that they have got access generating capacity, we want to import that into the country.”
He also mentioned the prospects that exist in the kudu gas.
Ramokgopa stated that the two parties agreed on the future stages for the green hydrogen partnerships.
“We are taking those discussions to the next stage so that we are able to resolve the immediate problem and also try and build energy security for the region working with Namibia.”
Ramokgopa expressed satisfaction with the progress made thus far, noting that it provides a good foundation for South Africa to continue cementing its relationship with Namibia.