EU to Make Green Hydrogen Partnership with Namibia

The European Union is looking for a deal with Namibia to support the country’s efforts to develop green hydrogen and boost its own imports. The EU has been scrambling to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

Hopes are high on hydrogen, which is considered as being a cleaner replacement for fossil fuels. While the consumption of the fuel has increased in the EU, primarily in heavy industry and transportation, high costs and limited infrastructure have prevented more uptake. The fuel currently covers only 2% of the bloc’s energy needs.

In addition, most of the EU’s hydrogen consumption is “grey”, which is produced using gas and has higher carbon emissions. The bloc wants to boost consumption of green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy.

The EU’s energy strategy in May set a goal of importing at least 10 tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, with another 10 million tonnes to be produced within the bloc.

According to the plan, the EU would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Namibia on hydrogen and minerals in November.

Namibia acknowledged that the work was underway for a deal on green hydrogen but has not revealed plans for minerals.

The European Commission also said it was working on green hydrogen projects in Namibia.

The officials have not made any comments on costs. MoUs usually don’t cover import volumes, investments and delivery timings, but they are important political commitments that pave the way for long-term partnerships.

The EU signed a MoU last month with Israel and Egypt on gas imports, as part of its plans to seek alternative suppliers of energy and cut dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

Namibia, being one of the world’s driest and least densely populated countries, bets on its vast wind and solar energy potential to produce green hydrogen.

The German government has already agreed to invest €40 million in Namibia’s green hydrogen, and Belgian and Dutch companies are also operating in the country in that field.

Direct EU funding for Namibia is still unlikely, but a deal could prompt other investors and funding via green bonds.

The EU also wants easier access to minerals in Namibia, and plans geological projects to explore the resources of a country which is nearly as big as the combined territory of France and Germany.

Namibia is one of the countries prioritized by the EU in its “Global Gateway Strategy”, Brussels’ project to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative to boost infrastructure investment and diplomatic ties in developing countries.

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