Dakar, Senegal 8TH April 2022 – A group of Energy and scientific experts in West Africa have disclosed that the region holds very good potential for producing green hydrogen and thus providing an opportunity for the region to play a key role in the emerging green hydrogen market. Experts also noted that the green hydrogen – H2 atlas project produced by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) (WASCAL) and its research partners, revealed that West Africa has huge renewable energy potential (solar, wind, hydro) and plenty of available land which are key ingredients for the production of green hydrogen. This was disclosed at a two-day kick-off meeting on the development of the ECOWAS Green Hydrogen Policy held in the Senegalese Capital, Dakar from the 7TH to 8Th April.
The meeting organized by the ECOWAS Centre for renewable Energy and Energy efficiency (ECREEE) seeks to create the roadmap for the development of an ECOWAS Green Hydrogen Policy. The Policy document will be the first step towards aligning the regional and national government’s policies, legislative procedures and guidelines in a systematic approach for fostering greater public and private sector participation in the emerging green hydrogen economy. The fifteen-member countries were fully represented at the kick off meeting and shared their experiences, perspectives and also admitted to challenges ahead in the quest for the production of green hydrogen in the ECOWAS region.
In his welcome address at the start of the meeting, the Acting Executive Director of ECREEE, Bah F.M. Saho said ECREEE with WASCAL and the government of Germany through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), are collaborating to explore the potentials of green hydrogen production from the enormous renewable energy sources within the West African region. Mr. Saho informed delegates that the development of a regional policy will also have an implementation strategy to ensure that pilot projects are instituted within the region. Mr. Saho also stressed the need for the full participation of national focal institutions in member states in the development of what he described as ‘a novel policy’ in the region.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Executive Director of WASCAL Moumini Savodogo underscored the importance of the meeting, noting that data collection in the region is key to the development of green hydrogen policy. He also told delegates that based on the information already collected, it is evident that there are huge prospects for green hydrogen in West Africa. Mr. Savodogo stressed the urgent need to provide scientific based information to policy makers with a view to come up with a regional policy for the development of green hydrogen in the ECOWAS region. He also spoke about capacity building in this regard to enable experts surmount the challenges associated with the production of green hydrogen.
In his remarks, the ECREEE Sustainable Energy Champion, Pape Abdou Fall, stressed the need for political and financial support in the development of green hydrogen development and pointed out that there is high demand for green hydrogen energy in the world following the on-going war in Ukraine. He also pointed out that West African countries are endowed with huge potentials of renewable energy which is a comparative advantage of the region.
The representative of the Senegalese Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Ibrahima Niane, also underscored the importance of the meeting noting that West Africa has a huge potential for green hydrogen production. Mr. Niane described hydrogen as a lucrative commodity and ECOWAS member countries could serve as a potential exporter to the global market.
The two-day meeting, took the form of an interactive sessions with presentations on hydrogen technology, uses and policy perspectives from other parts and regions of the world including what could be the main elements of the ECOWAS Green Hydrogen regional policy by the consultant as well as technical experts on the crucial task of developing the ECOWAS green hydrogen policy.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Acting Executive Director of ECREEE, Bah F. M. Saho told delegates that green hydrogen is a great opportunity to fight poverty in the ECOWAS region and urged them to work together to achieve this goal. He also said that the stage is now set for private sector partnership in the green hydrogen production. The Executive Director of WASCAL Moumini Savodogo thanked participants as well as ECREEE for the important role they are playing as partners in the development of ECOWAS green hydrogen policy. Mr. Savodogo stressed the need for networking of experts in the area of sustainable and environmentally friendly hydrogen production.
In his closing remarks, a representative of the Senegalese Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Ibrahima Niane, thanked ECREEE for choosing Senegal as the venue of this important meeting. He also spoke about the need for the provision of affordable energy supply in the region noting that green hydrogen will eventually serve that purpose. Mr. Niane urged delegates to continue the work in their various countries because green hydrogen is a reality in the ECOWAS region which will eventually spur socio-economic development. The high-profile Dakar meeting was chaired by the ECREEE Project Manager on Green Hydrogen, Mr. Baboucarr Njie.