Shawn Modise, the acting project management unit manager at the Northern Cape Economic Development, Trade, and Investment Promotion Agency, has stated that the government intends to play a crucial role in reducing the risks associated with green hydrogen projects while supporting the Northern Cape’s green hydrogen ambitions and facilitating industry growth.
Speaking at a conference in Johannesburg, Modise highlighted the Northern Cape’s inherent advantages that position it as an ideal hub for a national green hydrogen ecosystem. These advantages include a high renewable energy potential, with solar and wind capacity factors averaging around 23% and 37%, respectively.
The region could potentially accommodate up to 11,400 GW of solar and 846 GW of wind capacity. The Northern Cape’s less complex topography makes it an attractive area for green hydrogen development, with 50% of its land suitable for solar or wind projects.
Furthermore, about 300 km of shoreline is available, with Boegoebaai’s coastline having the potential to support a greenfield deepwater port. The region’s substantial mineral deposits, accounting for 28% of the Northern Cape’s GDP, also make it attractive for development, particularly in the mining sector.
Modise emphasized that significant mines in the area would serve as key tenants for special economic zones, and the region’s international accessibility positions it well for connecting to industrial hubs in Namibia, Botswana, and the rest of Southern Africa.
To derisk projects like Boegoebaai, the government is engaging in multilateral agreements with potential offtake markets, seeking green bonds and blended finance instruments for critical infrastructure, and hosting stakeholder engagement sessions to ensure positive outcomes for communities and projects. The government is also committed to supporting permitting, setting localisation policies, and providing capacity development support for community involvement in the ecosystem.
Balanced policy measures and support for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen as crucial for enabling the supplier ecosystem and promoting long-term local industrial development. Elevating underserved entrepreneurial opportunities for SMEs and establishing a shared services centre for qualifying SMEs to support back-office admin functions are part of the strategy.