Hydropower for the habitat of mountain gorillas
Our exclusive Carbon offset project in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hydropower, Virunga, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Virunga National Park is home to 200 mountain gorillas – a quarter of the animals still alive in the world today. Six hundred rangers protect the area from thousands of armed militia, who exploit the natural resources, animals and, above all, wood for the charcoal trade for their own financial gain. This illegal exploitation is a million-dollar business and finances a cruel civil war. In the past 20 years, more than 160 park rangers have lost their lives on account of the work they do.
The illegal charcoal made from trees in the Virunga National Park is, for many, their only energy source: 97 percent of the population in this region have no electricity in their home. Even basic infrastructure is missing.
If there is no alternative energy source to charcoal, this forest will be completely deforested in ten years' time. This is why our Carbon offset project has emerged: a small run-of-river hydroelectric power plant with an output of currently 13.6 MW. It generates enough electricity for 30,000 inhabitants; for most of them, it is the first time they have had access to any electricity at all. The project thus creates the conditions for economic development. Gradually, alternatives that will allow the local population to make a living without illegal overexploitation will emerge.
Contribution to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Affordable and Clean Energy: The 13.6 MW hydropower plant provides clean electricity to 600,000 people via a local micro-grid
New jobs in the area were created by the power plant
More safety from new street lamps, and electric light enabels students to do their homework after sunset
The hydropower generates energy free of carbon emissions
How do Carbon offset projects with hydropower work?
As energy is generated from water without any need for fossil fuels, it is considered to be emission-free. Expanding renewable energy production is essential to halt global warming and secure the energy supply in the long term.
The amount of emissions saved by running a hydropower project is calculated using the so-called baseline method: how many carbon emissions would the same amount of energy emit with the region's usual electricity mix?