Positioned within the context of extreme poverty and a long history of armed conflict, the future of Virunga National Park relies on bringing about economic success, in turn contributing to peace-building and development in the region. Emmanuel de Merode, Chief Warden of the Park, and his team have created an ambitious plan to utilize the Park’s natural resources to propel sustainable socio-economic development. The plan is anchored by a major investment in free-flowing hydroelectric power to supply electricity to a significant proportion of the surrounding population of over 4 million people, most of whom do not have access to reliable energy.
This is a unique project, integrating electricity production with biodiversity conservation. Access to electricity is a necessity for local livelihoods, as well as for small and medium sized enterprises which make up the primary customer target group - not least Virunga Origins. The electricity provided by the Virunga hydro-power plant allows Virunga Origins to manufacture quality chocolate, chia and coffee, and most importantly to keep the value of the entire production process within the local community, ultimately benefiting the Park’s conservation efforts.
To carry out its mission, Virunga Energies intends to produce up to 100 MW by 2040. Virunga Energies already has a production capacity of ~30MW and a new 13 MW hydroelectric powerplant is currently under construction.
Households and small-and-medium-enterprises connected
Improved water supply for
Free public lighting in
towns and in Goma