Kenya has potential to become a leading green hydrogen exporter

3D illustration of renewable power concept. [Getty Images]

The intensity of interest in green hydrogen has grown exponentially in a concerted race to save the planet from the impacts of energy-borne global warming. The race for green hydrogen seems to have started in earnest. Kenya, with its abundant renewable energy sources, stands in a unique position to harness the potential of green hydrogen to pave way for a sustainable and prosperous future.

Kenya's strategic geographical location offers enormous potential for the country to become a major green hydrogen exporter. Countries seeking to decarbonise their economies, but lacking renewable resources for large-scale hydrogen production can rely on Kenya's surplus green hydrogen. This export market can stimulate economic growth, attract foreign investment, and create employment opportunities.

By embracing green hydrogen, Kenya can decarbonise various sectors, mitigate the effects of climate change, and become a regional leader in sustainable energy deployment.

Today, research shows that Kenya is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity, making it an ideal candidate for green hydrogen production. By leveraging close to 2,900MW of clean energy, Kenya can establish itself as a regional leader in sustainable energy.

Taking inspiration from successful examples like Germany, which has made significant strides in green hydrogen technology, Kenya can set ambitious targets, foster partnerships, and drive innovation through collaboration. This collaboration can provide valuable knowledge exchange, investment opportunities and technical expertise.

To fully optimise the benefits in this new and exciting field, there will be a need for greater collaboration. More specifically, encouraging partnerships between public entities like Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and private partners can accelerate the growth of green hydrogen projects. Collaborative initiatives promote research and development, attract investment, and establish a comprehensive value chain for green hydrogen production, storage and distribution.

Green hydrogen holds the potential to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy industry, transportation, and aviation. By embracing green hydrogen, Kenya and Africa can pursue sustainable economic growth while minimising their carbon footprint. Green hydrogen can revolutionise energy access in remote areas with limited grid infrastructure, providing clean and reliable power to under-served communities, thereby empowering economic development and improving the overall quality of life.

Considering that this is a highly technical and specialised field, the development of green hydrogen infrastructure will require skilled labour across various sectors, contributing to economic diversification and poverty reduction. This presents an opportunity for collaboration in capacity building and knowledge exchange across nations.

Additionally, green hydrogen plays a vital role in complementing other forms of renewable energy. While solar and wind power are excellent sources of clean electricity, they are intermittent by nature. Green hydrogen can act as a bridge between renewable energy generation and energy demand, providing a reliable and scalable energy storage solution. It enables excess renewable energy to be stored and used during periods of high demand or when renewables are not available, enhancing grid flexibility and stability.

KenGen is at the forefront of driving the green hydrogen conversation in the country. Leveraging its expertise in renewable energy, KenGen has the potential to become a key player in advancing green hydrogen initiatives. KenGen can initiate pilot projects and demonstrations to showcase the viability and scalability of green hydrogen production.

By partnering with research institutions, industry stakeholders and international experts, KenGen can lead the way in implementing innovative green hydrogen technologies. Additionally, KenGen can play a pivotal role in building local capacity and knowledge on green hydrogen technologies.

Ultimately, green hydrogen represents a transformative opportunity for Kenya and Africa to transition to a sustainable and low-carbon future. By leveraging its abundant renewable resources, collaborating with international partners and adopting best practices, Kenya can position itself as a regional leader in green hydrogen production and export.

Thankfully, there are success stories that Kenya can learn from internationally. Just like Germany, other countries like Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands have made significant strides in green hydrogen deployment and can serve as valuable case studies. These countries have focused on ambitious targets, research and development and public-private collaborations to achieve their green hydrogen goals.

The conversation surrounding green hydrogen is critical as it offers the potential to decarbonise various sectors, enhance energy security and drive economic growth. With KenGen at the forefront, Kenya has the capacity to become a hub for green hydrogen innovation, empowering the nation and paving the way for a cleaner and more prosperous tomorrow. By embracing green hydrogen, Kenya can chart a path towards a sustainable energy future and contribute significantly to global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.