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Hive Hydrogen signs wind power deal for R105bn Eastern Cape green ammonia plant

Hive Hydrogen South Africa chairperson Thulani Gcabashe.

Genesis MD Davin Chown (left) and Hive Energy Africa CEO Colin Loubser.

27th February 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Hive Hydrogen South Africa has signed an agreement with Genesis Eco-Energy to implement 372 MW of wind power in the Western Cape, in support of the development of its R105-billion green ammonia project at Coega in the Eastern Cape.

The Coega green ammonia hub is a flagship investment project in South Africa, led by Hive Energy and co-developer BuiltAfrica.

BuiltAfrica, which has a 25% stake in Hive Hydrogen South Africa, was founded in 2009 by former Eskom CEO and former Standard Bank chairperson Thulani Gcabashe as an investment and development business focused on sectors that support sustainable development. Gcabashe is the current chairperson of Hive Hydrogen South Africa.

The two wind farms of independent power producer (IPP) Genesis Eco-Energy are expected to bring with it significant employment opportunities.

Hive Hydrogen South Africa’s green ammonia project, which has been tabled at the Presidential Investment Summit in Sandton, was awarded Strategic Integrated Project status by the Ministry of Public Works in November 2022.

A total of 3 480 MW of power will be generated to supply the plant and will bring much-needed investment to the transmission network.

The project development will also enable other IPPs in the Beaufort West region to connect their power generation assets to the grid which will reduce loadshedding.

“We’ve been working with Genesis on these two outstanding projects of theirs for over a year and are delighted to have finalised implementation terms with them to ensure a meaningful supply of power is secured for the project,” Hive Energy Africa CEO Colin Loubser stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.

Hive Hydrogen South Africa will continue working with Genesis to secure additional power for the Coega green ammonia project which, once the first phase is built, will require three further phases to supply power.

“The Hive Green Ammonia project will incorporate our large-scale wind farms to deliver significant benefits to the Eastern Cape province, creating large numbers of jobs in a struggling economy. We’re thrilled to be part of delivering this energy solution,” said Genesis MD Davin Chown.

BuiltAfrica participated in the early rounds of renewable energy procurement under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, or REIPPPP. During this period two solar generation plants were built and are in operation. In addition to this, BuiltAfrica, which has been chaired by Gcabashe since its inception, was involved in energy efficiency projects aimed at lowering peak demand on the power system.

Hive Energy, headquartered in the UK, is the 75% stakeholder of Hive Hydrogen South Africa and is the principal funder and co-developer of the project, which is located in Midrand, Gauteng, and Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape.

Hive Energy was founded in 2010 by Giles Redpath to participate in the significant solar photovoltaic expansion across England. The company now operates in 17 countries globally with its largest projects in Spain. It is developing eight green hydrogen/ammonia projects globally. Once complete, the projects will have the capacity to produce some 8 500 000 t of hydrogen/ammonia each year to support the global drive to net-zero emissions by 2050. The UK’s largest solar park is on its list of developments and it is currently developing Spain’s first green hydrogen/ammonia hub.

In addition to its eight gigascale green hydrogen/ammonia projects, more than 28 000 MW of renewable energy projects feature, so far generating more than £1.9-billion capital expenditure in green energy, saving 1.9-million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Genesis Eco-Energy Developments, which is part of the Genesis Infrastructure and Renewable Energy Group, is headquartered in Cape Town and is developing 6.5 GW of renewable energy generation and energy storage projects in South Africa.

PLATINUM GROUP METALS

As reported by Engineering News & Mining Weekly last month, the hydrogen economy is an important new growth area for South Africa’s platinum group metals (PGMs) and, in turn, PGMs are pivotal for hydrogen production and application across a broad front.

In the article, Heraeus Precious Metals new business development executive VP Dr Philipp Walter highlighted the strong global current momentum of the hydrogen economy – “politically, socially and technologically”.

In South Africa, it is estimated that the hydrogen economy has the potential to add 3.6% to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, along with 370 000 jobs.

South Africa is already acting with purpose to harness the potential of green hydrogen and if investment is significantly scaled up, green hydrogen can deliver the equivalent of more than one-third of Africa’s current energy consumption, increase the collective GDP, improve clean energy supply and empower communities.

The Southern African region already has 33 green hydrogen-linked projects charted, 26 of them in eight provinces in South Africa and seven in Namibia. This region has world-class conditions for generating renewable energy through solar and wind power, which are key drivers of the production of green hydrogen.

Innovative financing structures, sourced from multiple stakeholders, are available for green hydrogen projects that can collectively provide energy sovereignty and export opportunities.

To date, the largest public finance commitment to South Africa’s green hydrogen sector is the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). Conceived as an $8.5-billion multi-donor agreement, the JETP is a novel climate finance programme to deliver a just transition to affected groups.

Further, through its green ammonia export project in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the leadership of Hive Hydrogen South Africa intends to show how a just energy transition is possible, Gcabashe highlighted at this year’s signing ceremony of the $5.8-billion Coega green hydrogen and green ammonia development.

Hive Hydrogen South Africa and Itochu Corporation of Japan have signed a memorandum of cooperation to advance Hive’s Coega green ammonia export project and have agreed to work together on matters of viable green hydrogen and ammonia project development, production, operation, marketing, offtake and distribution.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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