In a groundbreaking revelation at the Africa Energy Week, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, has unveiled an ambitious vision for Africa’s energy future. He declared that the continent could not only meet its own energy needs but potentially produce 50 times more energy from renewables than the world’s estimated demand by 2040, provided it harnesses its abundant natural resources.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Ramokgopa emphasized the importance of adopting a Pan African perspective in the exploration of green hydrogen, a key component of renewable energy. He pointed out that Africa’s geographical advantages, including radiation levels and coastal wind speeds, make it uniquely positioned for a green energy revolution.
“We need to have a Pan African view in the exploitation of this energy carrier, and our view is that by 2040 Africa can produce up to 50 times more energy from renewables than the world’s estimated demand,” said Dr. Ramokgopa.
However, he also stressed the need for Africa to define its own interpretation of a “Just Energy Transition,” highlighting that this transition must encompass universal access, the extraction of critical minerals essential for green hydrogen development, and the creation of employment opportunities that support the transition.
Dr. Ramokgopa outlined the potential benefits of locally smelting African iron ore, stating that it could generate much-needed jobs and the skills required to support the transition. This strategy would not only broaden the industrial base but also contribute to the decarbonization agenda.
One of the key concerns surrounding green hydrogen production is its impact on water resources. Dr. Ramokgopa addressed this issue by pointing out that coastal countries can utilize seawater for green hydrogen production, thus eliminating the strain on limited freshwater resources.
“Coastal countries can use seawater to produce green hydrogen and therefore eliminate the strain that it’s likely going to place on limited water resources—especially countries like South Africa where water is a scarce commodity,” he explained.
The Minister went on to reveal the astounding capacity of Sub-Saharan Africa’s resources, stating that they have the potential to produce between 5,000 and 13,000 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year. He noted that this production could cost as little as $2 per kilogram by 2050, making green hydrogen financially competitive with other energy sources.
In addition to being a game-changer in the energy sector, Dr. Ramokgopa highlighted the potential economic impact of green hydrogen. He estimated that it could contribute significantly to the national revenue funds of many African countries, potentially reaching up to $20 billion. These funds could be utilized to expand social infrastructure, improve the quality of life for African citizens, and pave the way for significant growth across the continent.
The Minister’s vision for Africa’s energy future has generated significant excitement and optimism within the technology and financial services sectors. With the promise of abundant, clean energy, green hydrogen could not only meet Africa’s energy needs but also stimulate economic growth and employment opportunities, making it a topic of great interest to Rateweb’s audience. Africa’s journey towards energy independence has begun, and the world is watching with anticipation as the continent takes the lead in the green energy revolution.