French hydrogen energy promoter Hydrogene de France SA (EPA:HDF) has secured high-level support for its project to build a renewable hydrogen power-to-power plant in Zimbabwe.
The company on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), creating a framework for the joint technical and administrative work to finalise the development of the green hydrogen power plant and commercialise the electricity and grid services through a dedicated power purchase agreement (PPA). The signing ceremony in Victoria Falls was presided over by Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa and attended by French ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Chevalier.
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HDF Energy’s project, called Middle Sabi Renewstable, will be Zimbabwe’s first utility-scale green hydrogen investment. Renewstables are the company's proprietary power generation solution that combines an intermittent renewable energy source, production and storage of electrolytic hydrogen and a lithium-ion battery.
HDF Energy is working to build this type of power plant in the Chipinge District in the southeast part of Zimbabwe. The site is located within the developing multi-project, multi-technology, multi-investor Chipangayi Renewable Energy Technology Park (RETPark), far from Zimbabwe’s largest generation assets but close to demand load centres, according to the company.
The Renewstable plant is expected to produce aroung 178 GWh of electricity per year, which will be fed into the grid through the Middle Sabi substation.
HDF Energy said that its initiative complements Zimbabwe’s plan to support the development of over 1,000 MW of solar projects by independent power producers, since such a roll-out will require additional baseload capacity to prevent challenges to the grid that intermittent sources pose.
“This is an encouraging milestone for ZETDC as it comes at a time when the Government is encouraging the transition to renewable energy. We are currently implementing initiatives to ensure security of electricity supply," said engineer John Diya, who represented the Acting Managing Director of ZETDC.
Added Nicolas Lecomte, HDF Director for Southern and East Africa: “The electricity demand in the country is very high, in part because of the growth in demand by the productive sector, a positive sign for Zimbabwe's future. Our solution, the Renewstable hydrogen power plant, is particularly suitable, not only to supply the necessary electricity, but also the network services to improve the stability and operating conditions of the electrical grid”.
HDF expects to reach financial close on the project and start construction in 2024/2025.