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Matebe 13.6 MW Run of River Small Hydro Plant


Project Name: Matebe

Project owner: Virunga Alliance

Standard: Verra VCS

Project ID: 1716

Since 2016, Matebe helps to kickstart the local green economy and avoids the use of polluting and costly fossil fuel generators, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Park area.

Matebe is part of a wider investment plan called the Virunga Alliance aiming to provide energy access to 4 million people in and around the Virunga National Park. In addition to the 30,000 beneficiaries, 350 SMEs and Public Services benefit from this project.

Small run-of-river hydro are environmentally friendly as they are technically less demanding in terms of construction (no reservoir). They also help stabilize the grid, and can be developed off-grid to serve remote rural communities.

Born out of the Congolese commitment to protect the Virunga National Park and the five million people who live within a day’s walk of the Park’s borders, the Virunga Alliance aims to foster peace and prosperity through the responsible economic development of natural resources.

The Virunga Alliance is working to tackle energy poverty by harnessing the enormous hydrological resources of the Park to create sustainable electricity for local communities and businesses.

Virunga intends to produce up to 100 MW by 2040.


The country has an enormous development potential thanks to a very abundant hydrological resource.

The project is taking full advantage of this potential by using it instead of going for a more complex source of energy production.

The plant was built through advanced technology transfer from industrialized countries.

The project was constructed with modern technology which are of a higher standard than many power plants in Africa

DRC is a country in which less than 1% of the population has access to electricity in rural area.

The project is allowing 30,000 people to get access to an affordable and renewable energy.

Virunga Alliance used the local workforce to build the plant.

Job creation is boosting the economical activity of the region and is one of the best vector of development and pacification in the region.

CSR Action


Virunga supports the entrepreneurship by helping them to access financial resources that banks usually refuse them. A beneficiary can take out a loan which they reimburse with each purchase of electricity through an increased price per kWh.


Virunga provides free electricity to 40 public institutions and lighting in nearby villages. This lighting transforms social life as night time activities develop, whereas previously, few left their homes after dark for personal security fears. As of the end of 2019, over 300,000 people have benefited from these improvements.


Virunga supports the renovation of schools and hospitals, this significantly increases the quality of healthcare around the park, largely as a result of the ability to conserve medicines via refrigeration.


The mountain gorilla population is not only recovering but growing. In 2019, thanks to the exhaustive work of rangers over many years in the three countries that lie across the Virunga massif (DRC, Rwanda and Uganda), the species was downgraded from “critically endangered” to “endangered” for the first time since 1994.


In 2019, around 7000 patrols were conducted by park rangers, which represents as increase of 11% from 2018. They covered around 42% of the territory of the park. Foot patrols alone covered over 45,000km in 2019.


Based on the experience and progress made over the past ten years, it is anticipated that its “green economy model” – sustainable economic development – could contribute $350 million of additional GDP by 2030.