Economically improving the lives of the previously marganalised

The Green Hydrogen Export Special Economic Zone to be developed in the Northern Cape, with SASOL as an anchor investor, is expected to economically benefit the previously marginalised sectors in a province that is one of the poorest in terms of demographics.

“The intention is to have a dedicated green grid, electrolizer park and green hydrogen related Special Economic Zone to manufacture green hydrogen industry related goods and services in the Northern Cape,” Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy said on Monday.

Addressing the launch of the Northern Cape Green Hydrogen Strategy at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 26 in Glasgow, the Minister said local manufacturing of hydrogen products and components will contribute towards job creation and skills development as well as enhance economic transformation.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the Northern Cape Green Hydrogen Strategy, with the anchor investment by SASOL at the South African Strategic Infrastructure Development Symposium.

This came after a decision by Cabinet in September to approve the extension for the next 10 years of the South African Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM).

“The new roadmap builds on what has been achieved in the past 10 years, and moves us from research and development to manufacturing and commercialisation. We are particularly excited by this development, which aligns with the department’s declaration of the expanded western Strategic Energy Corridor in the Northern Cape.

“Over the past few years, our department undertook Strategic Environmental Assessments to identify among others renewable energy development zones (REDZ) and strategic energy corridors, in which large scale grid infrastructure expansion could be incentivized,” the Minister said.

This was done to proactivity identify environmental sensitivities and assist in orientating infrastructure development away from areas of high environmental sensitivity, allowing for a streamlined environmental authorisation process, which speeds up development while maintaining the highest environmental protection.

“Through this process we have heeded the call from the President to cut red tape and to halve the authorisation timeframe for transmission scale electricity grid infrastructure and reduce the timeframe for electricity grid development from seven to three years by allowing a pre-negotiated route to be submitted for authorisation which significantly simplified the servitude negotiation process.

“Accordingly, we are committed to supporting this very important initiative for the country and through the department we look forward to working closely with the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform to make it a reality,” the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency