Dubai-based AMEA plans to build green hydrogen plant in Kenya, supported by Softbank

AMEA Power, a Dubai-based renewable-energy company, plans to build a green hydrogen facility in the Kenyan port of Mombasa in what would be a first for the East African country.

AMEA, which is participating in a $4.5 billion pledge by the United Arab Emirates to boost renewable energy in Africa, would start with a one-gigawatt electrolyzer at the site, Chairman Hussain Al Nowais said in an interview at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on Wednesday.

“Let’s start with one gigawatt and see how the world is going before I start committing billions and billions of dollars,” he said, add-ing that green hydrogen is an “evolving technology.”

Kenya is vying to join the race by African nations to harness renewable energy to power the splitting of water to create so-called green hydrogen, which could ultimately replace natural gas as a fuel. South Africa, Namibia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Egypt are pushing forward with hydrogen plans.

The plant in Mombasa would use electricity generated from geothermal plants inland and will be based at the port to ease exports, he said. The family-owned company is also exploring the possibility of setting up a hydrogen plant in Djibouti, which is located close to the key shipping channel, the Suez Canal. That plant could use wind or solar power, Al Nowais said.

AMEA, which has sold about 9 percent stake in the company to SoftBank Group Corp. for $75 million, agreed to help fund five gigawatts of renewable energy in Africa as part of the UAE pledge. That would involve $1 billion in equity investments, and $4 billion from project finance.

Al Nowais said the company will consider wind, geothermal, solar, and battery projects as part of this program. It currently has about three gigawatts of installed capacity and a pipeline of another five gigawatts, he said. That includes plants in west Africa, Egypt, and Tunisia.

The company is considering expanding into central Asia, he said.

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