During the visit of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen from Denmark to President of South-Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, a Heads of Agreement has been concluded with the intention to launch a new ‘SA-H2 Fund’ (SA-H2). SA-H2 is an innovative blended finance fund, that will facilitate and accelerate the development of a green hydrogen sector and circular economy in South Africa. The Fund is supported by Invest International (II), Climate Fund Managers (CFM), Sanlam Limited of South Africa (Sanlam), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), in collaboration with other strategic partners.
The SA-H2 Fund initiative will aim to secure US$1 billion in funding, to be raised directly in South Africa or indirectly via other channels. A partnership of private and public enterprises and international and domestic institutions, SA-H2 reflects the immense potential of blended finance in tackling the climate crisis. Its focus will be to fast-track the mobilisation of funding towards the development and construction of large-scale green hydrogen infrastructure assets across South Africa.
Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, said: “To achieve Net Zero by 2050, urgent and unprecedented action is needed. We believe that green hydrogen is both the pathway and the solution to the global energy transition. South Africa combines deep technical and capital markets with world-class conditions for generating renewable electricity through solar and wind power, key drivers in the production of green hydrogen. Fitting within the framework of the Just Energy Transition, SA-H2 will help empower South Africa to claim its rightful place as a world leader in this exciting and necessary sector. SA-H2, once established, will join the recently announced SDG Namibia One fund (aiming to secure US$1 billion in funding to be raised directly in Namibia or indirectly via other channels), as the second-of-its-kind, regional blended finance fund to develop and fund green hydrogen projects.”
“Hydrogen replaces carbon-intensive fuels, reducing emissions and environmental impact. It also enables efficient storage and utilization of energy from renewable sources which can be more intermittent, ensuring a reliable supply. Hydrogen energy production provides a clean, versatile and efficient energy source that can drive the transition to a low-carbon economy, helping end the climate crisis and secure a more sustainable and prosperous future,” said Johnstone.
“Succeeding in a just transition to cleaner energy rests on our ability to create a viable marketplace that attracts and mobilises public and private capital, and this fund will do just that. We will create and use innovative blended finance architecture and structuring to build a substantial pipeline of green hydrogen projects in South Africa. This will give private sector developers access to risk capital from an early stage of development, throughout construction and into operations,” says Catherine Koffman, Group Executive: Project Preparation at the DBSA.
“Further, this fund is a significant addition to national efforts to leverage our existing renewable energy infrastructure. With a national target of US$250 billion investment in green hydrogen by 2050, this sector is projected to amplify the development impact of the renewable energy industry. It is an exciting development that, in accelerating the development of critical green hydrogen infrastructure, will stimulate the economy, train new skills, create jobs, generate export revenues, and facilitate the decarbonisation of our economy and industry.”
To reach net zero by 2050, the world needs power from renewable energy sources as well as the decarbonisation of other energy systems. Renewable energy will be the backbone, generating electrons and producing green hydrogen (H2). Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that is vital for decarbonising key sectors of the economy, including hard-to-abate industries like steel and chemicals. The development of the green hydrogen industry will have a profound and positive economic, social, and environmental impact.
Joost Oorthuizen, CEO of Invest International: “SA-H2 is a showcase of how public, private, international, and local parties can join forces to create a catalytic effect on the development of an exciting new sector. Green hydrogen projects in South Africa can contribute to local sustainable development and support the energy transition locally as well as in export markets. While deploying its funds, Invest International makes efforts to demonstrate strong environmental and social commitment, strive for local impact and inclusive growth, and combine the expertise of Dutch and South African businesses.”
Carl Roothman, CEO of Sanlam Investment Group, says: “At Sanlam, we are proud to be playing a leading role in building infrastructure that will contribute to Africa’s climate change journey. We have been at the forefront of sustainable investing in our country for many years – through our shareholding in Climate Fund Managers and a range of other sustainably focused initiatives – and are excited about the possibilities and impact this fund will have on our region, environmentally, socially and economically.
“Green hydrogen offers huge promise for solving our energy challenge and, as a company that believes in a just transition to clean energy, our country and our continent’s journey to finding clean energy alternatives will be boosted. The fund will help many important, large-scale projects get underway and will create jobs and stimulate local economies and communities.”
He said the group is well-positioned to provide financial and capital market advice, investment instrument structuring, fund-raising and distribution, marketing and logistical support.
Joanne Bate, Chief Operations Office of the IDC: “The green hydrogen economy presents new economic opportunities – new skills, employment and community opportunities – for South Africa. The development of this new industry will support the longer-term energy security priority and the just energy transition contribution will proactively address socio-economic development. South Africa will position itself as a globally competitive player in this industry. More importantly, green hydrogen will enable the local decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industrial sectors. Recent efforts by both the public and private sectors have resulted in a significant ramp-up of green hydrogen projects in South Africa that are being developed along the value chain. In November 2022, twenty green hydrogen projects were included in the Government Gazette with nine given status as strategic integrated projects (SIP) which will expedite the development and implementation of these projects. SA-H2 will be needed to support these projects and develop this new industry for South Africa.”