Environmental and social risk appraisal support for African “power-to-x” development
In early 2021, Continental Wind Power (CWP) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for the development of a 30 GW “power-to-x” (green hydrogen) project known as the AMAN project. RSK was involved in the preparation of a screening report in the initial stages of the project to identify the risks, challenges and opportunities presented by the development.
The central premise of this globally significant development is to generate renewable energy from arrays of wind turbines and solar panels. The generated energy will then be transmitted to a downstream site and used to power various facilities to produce green hydrogen (hydrogen created by the electrolysis of water), green ammonia (ammonia made from green hydrogen) and fresh water. A marine export facility will export the green ammonia to the global market. The project will broadly consist of the following elements: up to 975,490 ha of onshore wind and solar energy generation, including all associated infrastructure (upstream site); a desalination, electrolysis and green ammonia generation facility (downstream site); and a marine export facility.
The proposed annual capacity of the development is approximately 110 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, 1.7 million tonnes of hydrogen and 10 million tonnes of ammonia. It will also produce 50 million cubic metres of water each year for public use.
RSK prepared a screening report for this proposed development that identified the environmental and social risks, challenges and opportunities within the areas being considered for development. Using dynamic data collation systems and geographic information system (GIS) software, the RSK team combined the relevant data and information in the public domain with that obtained from consultations with local stakeholders, relevant authorities and site visits. The report clearly identified the risks and opportunities for the project, mapped the constraints identified, provided an initial significance assessment for each constraint, defined data gaps and identified ‘no-go’ and ‘developable’ areas.
In addition to the screening exercise, a review has been undertaken to establish the legislative framework within which the development will be consented and will operate. The work provides a sound basis for scoping the future environmental and social data collection and impact assessments that will be required to support subsequent stages of the development cycle.