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Gorilla Uganda Bwindi Forest

Hydropower in Uganda

Every £1 spent on this project has been verified to create at least £33 in environmental and social value. Renewable hydropower contributes to all of these UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Project Summary

We are funding a hydropower project on the Ishasha river in Uganda. 

This project harnesses water from the Ishasha river to create a renewable source of electricity for local people. 

CO2e emissions will be reduced by 21,084 tonnes per year and 200 local people will receive fair-wage work and specialist training, including for the long-term maintenance of the plant.


In Partnership With


This project is certified by the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Project details


The  6.4MW hydroelectricity plant on the Ishasha river in Uganda © UNFCCC

Uganda is one of the world's poorest countries, ranked 159th globally. Kanungu district, which is where this project is located, is one of the poorest places in Uganda with an average wage of just £4.38 per day. Rural areas have almost no electricity access and the urban area, Kanungu Town, only has access to electricity for 4 hours per day from small expensive local diesel generators.

Hydroelectricity is one of the most effective methods to provide low cost and renewable electricity for the local people. This state-of-the-art 6.4MW hydroelectricity plant benefits from 94% efficiency. By supporting this project you will help reduce CO2e emissions by 21,084 tonnes every year

This project was chosen as it not only has an enormous positive environmental impact but it also provides exceptional social benefits. The project will harness water from the Ishasha River and includes special design measures to ensure there is no adverse impact on local wildlife, such as the Tilapia fish.


Fair wage work will be provided to over 200 local people who will also receive specialist training, including how to manage the plant long term. The project does not involve any resettlement of local peoples. This project meets the highest international standards and is regularly monitored and verified by independent third parties.

  • 21,084 tonnes of CO2e annually 

  • Includes protections for native species 

  • Comprehensive third-party verification by the UN

  • Provides jobs and training to over 200 local people

  • Reliable renewable electricity access for local people

Benefits to local community

This project supports, develops, and involves the local population in a number of beneficial ways.

Currently, electricity is only available for a maximum of 4 hours per day from an expensive small diesel generator system. This situation severely limit access and the generator has been shown to be very harmful to people's health, emitting dangerous levels of sulphur dioxide and other particulates.

Hydropower does not result in emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere nor does it emit residuals that can have a negative impact on soil, vegetation, and drinking water. By supporting this project you will enable improved energy security, improved air quality, improved local area livelihoods and significant sustainable renewable energy industry development.

The project also creates significant opportunities for economic development in the Kanungu District and Uganda overall. Over 200 local people will be employed during the construction phase and these local people will be trained in specialist skills to allow them to manage their hydroelectricity plant long term. By employing local people to build and maintain the new hydroelectricity plant we help create sustainable fair-wage income sources that benefit the local people for generations to come.

The social benefits our hydroelectricity project in Uganda provides include:

  • Sustainable fair-wage income for 200 workers

  • Specialist training for local people 

  • Infrastructure upgrades

  • Access to reliable renewable electricity


The project provides jobs to over 200 people © UNFCCC

How hydropower plants work

Hydroelectric Plant

The project will harness water from the Ishasha River and drop the water approximately 90 meters through a special intake gate to run two turbines that achieve up to 94% efficiency.


The water then re-enters the Ishasha River at a point less than 1.5 kilometres from the intake location.

The project successfully received an environmental certificate from the UN to certify that there are special measures in place to protect local wildlife, such as the Tilapia, and that the project will cause no negative effects to any of the local plant or animal life.

Hydropower project location


The project is located 500 meters below the border of Bwindi Forest National Park in the Kanungu District of Western Uganda © UNESCO

Support Projects Like This

ZeroSmart helps you to easily reduce and remove your carbon footprint by funding verified scientific climate solutions, such as this renewable energy project in Uganda.

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