Positioning South Africa as a key player in the global hydrogen economy, the country’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, H.E. Dr. B.E. Nzimande, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Innovation, has officially launched the country’s Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM), during a webinar on February 12, 2022.
Approved by the South African Cabinet on September 14, 2021, and aimed at aligning energy stakeholders around the common goal of a just and inclusive net-zero economy by 2050, the HSRM represents a significant step towards developing a global hydrogen economy and will serve as an important catalyst towards driving South Africa’s energy transition.
“This strategy is currently implemented by the Department of Science and Innovation through the 15-year Hydrogen South Africa Program.” H.E. Minister Nzimande stated during the webinar, adding, “The implementation of this Roadmap is expected to support inclusive growth and assist the government in reducing unemployment, poverty, and inequality. Given the projected current global demand for green hydrogen, South Africa has the opportunity to increase the country’s share of the green hydrogen market.”
It was noted during the launch that in order for South Africa to realize its energy and overall national development goals, the implementation of a hydrogen economy would require significant infrastructural and skills development to support the deployment of hydrogen energy in a cost-effect manner and at scale, thus facilitating the potential to ensure gender equality and social inclusion within the industry, tackling the challenges of inequality and unemployment.
“The vision of the Hydrogen Society Roadmap is an inclusive, sustainable, and competitive hydrogen economy by 2050,” stated Dr. Rebecca Maserumule, Chief Director of Hydrogen and Energy at the Department of Science and Innovation, adding that the roadmap’s purpose is, “to align stakeholders on a common vision on hydrogen related technologies in order to create an environment where investment decisions can be made to unlock social benefits for the country.”
“The Hydrogen Society Roadmap identifies the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen; research, development, and innovation; as well as promoting gender equality and social inclusion, as important benefits of the hydrogen economy. If South Africa fully implements this Hydrogen Society Roadmap, within a few years, at least 20,000 new jobs [per annum] will be created in South Africa as part of the adoption of the hydrogen economy,” the Minister concluded.
The HSRM will effectively incorporate all hydrogen-related technologies from various sectors and industries, thus fostering economic and developmental growth, expanding the country’s hydrogen export market, and further solidifying South Africa’s position as a global leader in the hydrogen economy.
Facilitating a framework to ensure skills development and the integration of hydrogen-related technologies across the entire value chain, the HSRM underwent extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including governmental departments, educational professionals, science councils, as well as the private sector.
The HSRM constitutes part of the country’s Hydrogen South Africa Strategy, which was approved by the Cabinet in 2007, as a means to expand the country’s economy.