Namibia: Govt Wants Green Hydrogen Legal Framework

THE government wants to set up a legal framework to regulate its green hydrogen project, which will be operating from Namibia's Tsau Khaeb National Park.

This was announced by the director general of the National Planning Commission, Obeth Kandjoze, recently.

The Namibian Presidency says the green hydrogen project aims to generate 5 gigawatts of renewable energy, while it would ultimately produce 300 000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year for regional and global markets.

Following the conclusion of a feasibility study and sign-off by the government, Hyphen Hydrogen Energy will be granted the right to construct and operate the project for a 40-year period. The first phase is expected to enter production in 2026.

The government appointed the project-development company as the preferred bidder to develop the first large-scale vertically integrated green hydrogen project in the Tsau //Khaeb National Park.

"A new legal framework that will govern the new industry, green hydrogen," Kandjoze told The Namibian recently. He said the current Petroleum Products and Energy Amendment Act, as well as the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act do not suffice to govern green hydrogen.

"Much of its principle would revolve around what we know, except there are specialities around it... there are important lessons from it [the existing acts]," he said. The presidential economic adviser and hydrogen commissioner, James Mnyupe, says the green hydrogen project will require the augmentation of some pieces of legislation.

"Our petroleum commissioner is already hard at work considering those envisioned changes. The project relies on other existing pieces of legislation, such as the Nature Conservation Act," Mnyupe says.

The government will conduct a thorough legal due diligence with the preferred bidder during the ensuing negotiations to consider the broader legal considerations, he says.

Kandjoze says green hydrogen is an energy form with technical aspects, which need to be part of the law.

"The operations thereof, the management thereof, the licensing thereof, to the extent that when investors do get in they are made available a full set of laws that should be governing how you get it as an investor, how you treat the technology that rise from it, and the specifications," he said. He said the project has the potential to double up the country's existing gross domestic product (GDP).

"The implications of this may present the need for it to be legislated differently," he said.

NATIONAL PARK MANAGEMENT

The green hydrogen project will be set up in an area zoned for exploration in the Tsau Khaeb National Park.

The Tsau //Khaeb National Park, which has been chosen as the home of green hydrogens, is a coastal diamond mining area in the Namib Desert with abudand wind and solar resources.

The minister of environment, forestry and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, says the ministry has made the park available for the project and will ensure it would not be harmed.

"This park is the very basis for our future emerging industry. We will look into how we can position what we now know as a very strong emerging industry, which is green hydrogen ammonia," Kandjoze recently said during the inauguration of a new national park near Swakopmund, Cape Cross Seal National Park.

Shifeta said the government will use a small portion of its national parks for hydrogen project.

"When we conserve our natural resources, we do it for the benefit of our generations, the present and future ones.

"For green hydrogen, it is a tiny portion, and we will carefully make sure our management of the parks are done in such a way that if anything is done there it should not significantly damage the environment," Shifeta said.

He said they will allow the operation of the project where there is no fragile biodiversity.

The minister said the national parks are 'huge' and make up more than 20% of the country's land mass.

"We want to harvest our natural resources for the benefit of the people and the economy. We will just allow the activities to take place there, and will make sure they do not affect the other parts," Shifeta said.

NEXT STEP

The government will now enter into final negotiations with Hyphen, which will aim to finalise key aspects of the envisioned agreement.

"A key update on these negotiations should be available at the end of the first quarter of 2022," Mnyupe said.

He said upon the conclusion of those negotiations, Hyphen should become the selected developer to conduct feasibility studies to consider the viability of the construction of the project.

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