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June 29, 2022

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TAQA Morocco to develop US$27B green hydrogen plant

TAQA Morocco – majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company – has announced plans to invest $27.2 billion in a green hydrogen project in Morocco’s Dakhla-Oued El-Dahab region, as part of efforts to accelerate the energy transition in the North African country.

The project will generate 6,000 MW of renewable energy, which will be used to produce and export green hydrogen to meet global demand for decarbonized energy. The investment is expected to help reach Morocco’s goal of becoming a leading player in the global green hydrogen sector and attract further investments in the region.

Made earlier this week, the announcement follows a string of recent investments from UAE firms in Africa’s energy sector. Between 2016 and 2020, the UAE invested $23.8 billion in Africa, making it the second-largest bilateral investor on the continent after China. This has triggered a series of renewable energy investments by both public and private sector Emirati companies, including Infinity Power, AMEA Power and Masdar, among others.

The new hydrogen development also comes just weeks after COP28 was held in Dubai, where the UAE signed numerous agreements to develop renewable energy capacity in Africa. Among these agreements, AMEA Power signed over eight Memoranda of Understanding with Mozambique, Uganda, Ethiopia and Mauritania, focusing on solar, hydropower and green hydrogen projects.

With the aim of expanding their market share and achieving climate diplomacy, Emirati companies are actively pursuing partnerships with both African and European countries, with the ladder serving as a key export market for African hydrogen. An example of this multilateral cooperation is the $34-billion hydrogen project in Mauritania being developed by the UAE’s Masdar and Germany’s Conjuncta, demonstrating the potential for mutually beneficial engagement.

To date, Europe has made sizable gains in the development of green hydrogen on the African continent and has set a target of producing 10 million tons of renewable-based hydrogen by 2030, which could serve as a solution to the bloc’s energy deficit resulting from sanctioned Russian gas. In 2022 alone, the European Union (EU) entered into agreements with Morocco, Egypt and Namibia to assist in the development of renewable hydrogen and, when feasible, to serve as suppliers to the EU. Additionally, the EU is providing financial and technical assistance to Kenya, Mauritania and South Africa to help explore their respective potential in hydrogen development.

Growing collaboration between the EU, the UAE and Africa highlights the continent’s potential as a strategic player in the global hydrogen market and supply-demand dynamics. Africa is one of the few regions with vast, co-located renewable resources, with an estimated potential capacity of 850 TW in solar and wind alone and the ability to capture up to 10% of the global green hydrogen market. The UAE and the EU, with advanced technological prowess, extensive experience in renewable energy development, and robust financial capabilities, could serve as partners to and catalysts for Africa’s green energy revolution. This mission will be at the forefront of the upcoming Invest in African Energy 2024 forum, taking place in Paris next May. The forum invites investors, technology and service providers and project developers from Europe and the Middle East to share their expertise and engage with Africa’s leading energy investment prospects.