Virunga National Park, Congo - Climate action with hydropower

Preservation of the habitat for the last mountain gorillas in the wild

The Matebe hydropower project in Virunga National Park in the Congo finances a run-of-river power plant to supply the local population with electricity from renewable energies. Hydropower replaces the generation of energy from charcoal and the associated deforestation of the local rainforest and thus the destruction of the habitat of the mountain gorillas.

PROJECT FACTS

This is the DRC

LOCATION:
Virunga National Park, D.R. Congo

PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT FROM THIS PROJECT:
approx. 5.000 households and small businesses

PROJECT START:
2017

PROJECT DEVELOPER:
AERA GROUP

EXTERNAL VERIFIER:
TÜV NORD CERT GmbH, Carbon Check (India) Private Ltd.

QUALITY STANDARD:
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

ANNUAL CO2-REDUCTION:
APPROX. 46.000 t CO2

PROTECTED ANIMAL SPECIES:
Mountain gorillas

PROJECT DOCUMENTATION: https://registry.verra.org/app/projectDetail/VCS/1716

The rainforest in Virunga National Park in the Congo.The cities in the rainforest in Virunga National Park in Congo.The rare mountain gorilla in the rainforest in Virunga National Park in Congo.

ProjeCt BENEFITS 

  • Protection of the habitat of mountain gorillas and other threatened animal species
  • Economic development through electricity in one of the poorest regions in the world
  • Clean energy from hydropower plants supplies around 5,000 households and many small businesses
  • Creation of numerous jobs and new small businesses
  • Spread of clean technology, further hydropower plants planned
  • More safety through street lighting in the villages
  • Generating electricity from a renewable source with minimal environmental impact
  • Saving about 46,000 tons of carbon emissions per year
  • Alternative jobs to the illegal coal trade
  • Weakening of militias for more peace in the region
Construction of the hydropower plant in the rainforest in Virunga National Park in Congo.Construction of the power grid in Virunga National Park in Congo.Construction of the hydropower turbines in the Virunga National Park in the Congo.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

About a third of the last mountain gorillas live in the wild in the Virunga National Park. 600 rangers protect the area from armed militias who are enriching themselves with natural resources, animals and wood for trading in charcoal. The illegal exploitation is a million dollar business and finances a cruel civil war. More than 160 rangers lost their lives in the process.

The charcoal from trees in the Virunga is the only source of energy for many, 97 percent of the population live without electricity. Without alternatives to charcoal, the forest will be cleared in ten years. This is why our climate action project was developed: a small run-of-river power plant with an output of 13.26 megawatts. In the meantime, 5,000 households and many new small businesses have already been connected to the local power grid - a basic requirement for economic development and, as a result, for more stability and peace in the region.

How does climate action work with hydropower?

Hydropower is one of the oldest forms of energy generation and follows a simple principle. All you need is water and a slope. The kinetic energy of the water drives a turbine and is converted into energy by a generator. The Matebe project is
a run-of-river power plant and it uses the natural flow velocity of the river. Since run-of-river power plants do not require a dam or reservoir, they are a good compromise between the use of natural potential and the lowest possible environmental impact.

The amount of emissions saved is calculated using the so-called baseline method: how much carbon emissions would the same amount of energy cause with the usual local electricity mix?

Every contribution counts!


Affordable and clean energy
from hydropower plants for 5,000 households


Fight against deforestation and preserve the habitat for native animals




Creation of numerous jobs and small businesses

Weakening of militias for more peace in the region

Contribution to the UN sustainability goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Project Quality standard

Logo of the Verified Carbon Standard

VCS – Verified Carbon Standard 

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is the leading global standard for the certification of emission reductions from forest protection projects. These emission reductions must be real, measurable, permanent, additional, checked by independent third parties and calculated conservatively.