Virunga Power was formed in 2011 as a developer, investor, and operator of renewable power projects and rural distribution grids. Our focus is on megawatt-scale rural utility projects across several countries in East Africa and beyond with a goal of bringing high-quality, low cost power to rural communities that currently lack reliable access to modern energy.
The "Virunga" name is inspired by the Virunga Mountains, a volcanic, mountainous region that stretches across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The trans-border Virunga region is famous for its wildlife and national parks, but outside of the protected reserves it is also one of the most densely populated rural areas of the continent. Despite abundant renewable resources for power generation, electrification remains very low, leaving the local communities reliant on traditional biomass and kerosene for energy and causing additional stress on the environment. This region exemplifies the regional and continent-wide opportunity to enable sustainable economic development for the local communities by bringing clean, low-cost power through rural utility projects.
As we conceive it, a rural utility is a collection of distributed energy generation and smart-grid distribution assets that is financed independently from a national or urban grid and often physically and operationally independent as well. It serves rural customers with high-quality, low-cost power that can be used to unlock value in the agricultural value chain and stimulate local economic development. The Virunga Power rural utility model is based on the premise that rural power consumers are credit worthy and electric utility projects that sell power to rural communities can attract investment from traditional private-sector infrastructure investors, like pension funds and project finance banks.
Our team is made up of experienced development, operations and construction engineers, finance and legal professionals, and rural community development experts. We are supported by an extensive network of advisors and partners that work together with us to implement our scalable and sustainable model for rural electrification on the African continent.
Our mission is to build the leading rural utility company in sub-Saharan Africa and to continuously strive to bring the full benefits of electrification to new rural communities and consumers in a sustainable manner.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL
We are building permanent infrastructure that is essential to meaningful and productive rural economic development and can help create food security and fuel broader economic prosperity locally and regionally. In doing so, we strive to minimize localized ecological impact and maximize positive social and environmental outcome. Our projects are also designed to take untapped local renewable resources and turn them into a locally-owned and managed economic resources, providing significant social benefit.
In addition, it is our goal to ensure full compliance with a variety of domestic and international frameworks designed to protect the environment and the interests of affected local communities.
Project Development Partnerships
Each of our projects has numerous development partners active at various stages of the project's development and implementation. The type of partners we work with varies among projects, but generally includes one or more of the following:
- Local community organizations (e.g. SACCOs/Co-ops, CBOs, NGOs) and existing community mini-grid companies
- Local individuals, private landowners, and/or community leaders who have completed early project development work
- Villages, towns, districts, counties and other local government organizations
- National-level energy associations, banks, national (host) government agencies, and development agencies
- International individual, institutional, and government-backed investors and other financing stakeholders in the development, construction, and operations of power utilities
- National and international NGOs, non-profits, academic institutions, and government development agencies
- Engineering and environmental consultancies and trade organizations, and other developers and private generators or utilities
- Equipment suppliers and construction firms