The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and the Western Cape provincial government have committed to putting support mechanisms in place to help resource a green energy hydrogen project in Vredendal.
As a starting point, senior government officials already visited the Keren green hydrogen project, to understand and assess the status of the project.
Working in partnership with the private sector, government has taken the initiative to identify and prioritise opportunities that will kick-start implementation of viable investment projects for support.
Investment holding company Sakhumnotho Power has partnered with energy development project company Keren Energy, and the University of the Western Cape (UWC), to undertake a proof-of-concept project that can produce green hydrogen at a site supplied by Namaqua Engineering, in Vredendal.
Speaking during the visit, DTIC special economic zones (SEZs) policy and planning acting chief director Thami Klassen said the hydrogen energy project would form part of the initiatives that drove spatial industrial development, through an integrated approach of the three spheres of government.
“The collaboration is key for driving localisation and beneficiation of primary commodities, especially in support of the West Coast-based Saldanha Bay SEZ.
“This will further strengthen the private-sector-driven innovative investments that will foster development of the green energy economy, using hydrogen and fuel cells manufacturing,” he noted, adding that critical infrastructure funding could also assist to give impetus to the green economy sector in driving the South African economy forward.
“The primary reason we are here today is to make sure that all systems and institutions discussed can work together and come up with the funding model that can move the project forward. The bigger picture will always be for the private sector and government to work together in the interest of the country’s economy,” Klassen said.
Keren executive director George van Rensburg welcomed the discussions between all parties, highlighting that the installed 100 kW photovoltaic solar system on site, further research and development at UWC and other investments would validate the project.
Discussions between all parties and meetings will continue, with project commercialisation once a bankable feasibility study has been finalised.