With the undeniable impacts of Covid-19 and the need for clean and sustainable energy sources, hydrogen is becoming more and more relevant. According to David Jarrett, managing consultant at RDJ Consulting, hydrogen is vital in transportation fuel, as raw material for chemical and industrial processes, as a power generation option and as energy storage.
“Namibia is an importer of all forms of energy currently. This then means that hydrogen and its development globally will impact the availability, cost and usefulness of current energy sources. Think of this, if all vehicle manufacturers were to shift their engines to use hydrogen, is Namibia ready to acquire new vehicles that use the only hydrogen?” asked Jarrett.
Energy demand in Namibia’s transport sector accounts for approximately 70% of total energy demand with any domestic savings having a great impact on foreign exchange payments required to meet these imports demands.
Furthermore, Jarrett noted that there is ability for value addition to the vast solar resource Namibia is blessed with to produce the energy needed for hydrogen production – and simultaneously, the production of desalinated water and various chemical salts. Finally, there is the ability to increase local jobs and create a new sustainable industry with its spin-offs, said Jarrett.
He continued that with the consistent rise and increased demand for electricity globally, Namibia can be described as “behind the curve” based on the fact that over the last three to four years, it had to import approximately 65% of required energy from the region. Jarrett stated that while importing in and of itself is not a bad thing, the issue of energy security should be a concern.
“The demand growth annually of approximately 4% means that some 160 MWh is required to meet this and would roughly require 60 MW of Solar PV not taking into account time of use complexities. Having contracted locally 170 MW of solar and wind since 2017, Namibia will only be meeting annual growth needs if not ramped up,” he outlined.
The local economist by profession stressed that other measures have already started to impact demand, such as net metering, assumed recently to be around 45 MW installed nationally, and various energy efficiency campaigns.
According to him, time of use now means more aggressive and innovative measures will be required to create the needed energy security. Some of these measures will require energy storage, solar thermal replacement of electric thermal, and new generation.
“These needs will thus create new opportunities in all forms of renewable energies as Namibia moves forward and the modified single buyer market (MSB) is very timely,” Jarrett concluded.