Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island, is covered by dense tropical forests that are home to countless plant and animal species. Its fertile soil is ideal for growing rice and other commodities such as coffee, cacao, cinnamon and palm sure. Despite this, new economic opportunities are limited by rudimentary infrastructure and poor electricity access – and growing energy demands threaten Sumatra’s unique natural ecosystems.
This grid-connected, run-of-river hydroelectricity plant is built on the upper banks of the Musi River near Sumatra’s port city of Bengkulu. By harnessing the kinetic energy of powerful running water, the Musi River Hydro plant has a total installed capacity of 210 MW and delivers over 765,000 MWh to Sumatra’s grid every year – that’s enough to meet the demands of over 700,000 Indonesians on average each year! This project addresses issues in rural Sumatra such as poor electricity access and the lack of quality employment opportunities – as well as fostering sustainable economic development. The Musi River Hydro plant has created quality jobs and upskilling opportunities for locals in what has been traditionally a farming community. A portion of project revenue is reinvested in the local community, building an orphanage, constructing new roads, bridges, and a traditional marketplace – giving local farmers better access to their rice paddies and the opportunity to pursue additional income. A reforestation program has also been established in the surrounding catchment area to safeguard the natural landscape.
We chose this project because it shows that a simple hydropower plant project financed by carbon finance can do much more than preventing carbon emission, but also benefit the local communities by rebuilding the natural habitat and bringing education and religion forward.
The run-of-river hydro plant was built without impacting on the surrounding nature as most of the technical installations such as turbines and pipelines have been built underground. The workers are given proper housing and benefit from the provision of medical treatment. Besides providing a renewable and emission-free energy source for the local communities, the project has helped build a mosque, a new primary school, and a village market. The project also offers free training for locals on composting and making organic fertiliser from invasive aquatic plants – providing free fertilisers to farmers to maintain healthy ecosystems. Finally, the project is responsible for the reforestation of 20 hectares, which have previously been cut down for the purpose of collecting firewood. This project not only offers a sustainable alternative to cooking fuel, it also tries to rebuild the land that has previously been destroyed.
This project is verified by VCS (Verra). The VCS Program is the world’s most widely used voluntary GHG program. Nearly 1,700 certified VCS projects have collectively reduced or removed more than 630 million tonnes of carbon and other GHG emissions from the atmosphere. The VCS Standard lays out the rules and requirements which all projects must follow in order to be certified. All VCS projects are subject to desk and field audits by both qualifiedand Verra staff to ensure that standards are met and methodologies are properly applied.