President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country is likely to transition towards the production and use of electric vehicles as South Africa recognises its potential to produce green hydrogen.
Ramaphosa was delivering the keynote address at the inaugural SA Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town, on Tuesday.
Green hydrogen is made by extracting hydrogen from water using green or renewable energy sources like solar and wind. The green hydrogen is then used in energy-intensive industries like iron smelting, long-distance trucking and even in jet airplanes.
President Ramaphosa says the global demand for green hydrogen is rising significantly, which is likely to lead to job creation.
“We now, through our energy transition, have decided that we are going to move into electric vehicles – a great opportunity, not only for one country but more many other countries. Already we are a major auto-manufacturer in three of our provinces – EC, KZN and Gauteng. All these provinces, through the workers, have developed great expertise in making high-quality vehicles that we export to many parts of the world.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opening Inaugural SA Green Hydrogen Summit: 29 November 2022
President Ramaphosa says South Africa’s Green Hydrogen Energy project will create jobs, attract investment and bring development to rural provinces as well as support a just transition to cleaner energy.
He claims that South Africa’s plan to transition to clean energy and meet emissions reduction targets will cost billions of rands.
The country has identified Green Hydrogen as one of the four big frontiers of the Just Energy transition. This is as the country sets itself on a path to becoming a global producer and exporter of green energy.
However, there are concerns that the Transition is a threat to jobs in the coal industry as the country is heavily reliant on coal as a source of energy. But the President says the Just Transition will benefit everybody.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says, “We want this Just Transition to leave no one behind. It needs to address the needs of workers, and the needs of communities that are affected but more importantly to lead to economic development. We must see industries spurning in areas where these projects will be implemented.”
Green hydrogen involves the extraction of hydrogen from water using solar or wind energy. And some of the coastal cities including the Northern Cape will be economic hubs for this energy.
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille adds, “The potential for green energy to become a thriving sector in South Africa’s economy is huge and so we using this summit as a springboard into action to make the potential a reality to see the green hydrogen industry thriving in our country.”
The next step is to market the plans of making the country a world-class hydrogen production hub.
Ramaphosa has assured summit attendees that South Africa is a favorable, dependable, and stable place to do business.
-Additional reporting by Lulama Matya