Load shedding - a term that sends a shiver down the spines of South Africans. In its essence, it represents the intentional shutdown of segments of a power distribution system to avert a total collapse. Unfortunately, for many South Africans in 2023, it has become an unwelcome companion, with some enduring up to 8 hours of blackouts in a 24-hour period.
But could the ascent of hydrogen energy in Africa be the key to a consistent power supply? Kenya, a nation grappling with intermittent power cuts, appears to believe so. Rich in renewable resources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, Kenya is strategically positioning itself as a hub for green hydrogen production.
Green Hydrogen, a buzzworthy topic in the energy sector, is created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity, without emitting carbon dioxide. Efficient management of this sustainable energy source could significantly propel Kenya's economic growth, currently boasting a GDP of $112.75 billion.
Hydrogen's recognition is growing for its role in storing energy from hydrogen-based fuel renewables, which can be transported over long distances to regions in need, such as South Africa.
The adoption of green energy is crucial for transitioning towards net-zero emissions economies. Leading countries like Germany and the United Kingdom are making strides in green hydrogen technology, spurred by commitments at the UN Climate Conference to decarbonize critical sectors.
The Green Hydrogen Catapult (GHC), a global initiative founded by industrial leaders, aims to accelerate green hydrogen adoption by developing 45 GW of electrolyzers by 2026. To contribute to this goal, Kenya's leading energy entity, KenGen, must collaborate with private partners to expedite green hydrogen projects.
Introducing Green Hydrogen in Kenya not only promises a significant reduction in CO2 emissions but also marks a transformative step towards providing clean energy access in remote areas with limited grid infrastructure. This transition holds the potential to enhance the quality of life for communities in these regions and drive economic growth.
At the 2021 GHC summit in Glasgow, Alex Hewitt, CEO of renewable energy giant CWP Global, emphasized that countries rich in renewables are poised to lead in green hydrogen production, offering an economic leapfrog opportunity for developing nations.
The message is clear: green hydrogen is pivotal for a sustainable, low-carbon future in Kenya, Africa, and beyond. With strategic partnerships and an abundance of renewable sources, Kenya is on the path to a greener future, ushering in what Gen Z may dub as the 'green era.'