This Tuesday saw a glimpse into the future for the villagers of Loubassa in the Republic of Congo. After months of studies and development, the floating tidal turbine that will power an “essential services unit” (ESU) on the Congo River in the coming months is undergoing testing on the Rhône in Lyon. This represents an unprecedented programme in enabling everyone to access green energy, which will improve the local residents’ living conditions in a sustainable manner.

A local and sustainable solution

Rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have one of the lowest electrification levels in the world (12%). The lack of a secure source of power throughout the country is preventing the fundamental development of agriculture and forcing the local population to live off imported products up to 75% of the time. However, this is one great paradox, as we know this region boasts significant natural resources (soil, sun and water), with the Congo River and its tributaries in particular being able to provide enough to meet the local populations’ needs both in terms of electricity and drinking water.

It is in this light that a Franco-Congolese consortium consisting of Pot@maï, a French non-profit organisation specialising in renewable energies, L’Aquaphile, a French supplier of floating tidal turbines and Aide à l’Enfance, a Congolese non-profit organisation, decided to install a floating tidal turbine on the Congo River and an essential services unit in the village of Loubassa.

This project will improve the local populations’ living conditions in a sustainable manner and create economic activity in the landlocked villages close to the rivers: drinking water, cold storage, battery charging, communications, transformation of agriculture and fishing products, and machines and tools for craftspeople. Capable of generating and using energy around the clock, the ESU will supply almost 3,000 inhabitants of two villages with local, green energy. This site will also be used to train and provide jobs for young craftspeople and farmers.

It is a worthwhile project that once again fulfils the Foundation’s commitment to offering access to energy for all, and it could not be achieved without a green conscience.