Once upon a time there was this guy with a vision. The vision was about beeing able to create a sustainable community in a place untouched by 20th century industrialization. What might be possible if the canvas was all about nature and the humans and animals living in it?
A documentary filmmaker and investigating journalist, Peter Rinaldo has travelled the world and seen a variety of scenes.
His heart eventually brought him into the business of sustainable energy, a practical way of caring for the world and for humanity. As a journalist, Peter spent a lot of time in Africa, and in Burundi in particular. Here, in this little country in central Africa, doors gradually opened up for him. After a meeting with the energy minister of Burundi last year, Peter realized that an energy provider was more than welcome in the country. But there was no way of financing such a project within Burundi.
The only means of funding would have to be from a source outside of Burundi.
Peter knew an experienced, open minded Swedish financier and a few skilled energy advisers were also singled out, then things developed quickly. With the government minister as reference, Peter started a company in Burundi called Blockhomes Burundi. The company board consists of three Burundians and two Swedish citizens, and this is the parent company of Power One AB, the Swedish company that is now launching this first electrification project in Burundi.
Seraphine Barigenera, COO and Peter Rinaldo, CEO
The first area that will be electrified is the beautiful Kabonga region in southern Burundi. The project will initially be able to support about 5 000 households with renewable energy, but a well thought-through scaling process makes it possible for Power One to service more customers as needs arise.
Peter explains that there are plans along with the project that encompasses so much more than delivering renewable electricity to the area. In a not too distant future a private university will be established in the Kabonga area that will focus on sustainability and new economics. As most other countries, Burundi lack an education in modern economics and sustainable entrepreneurship. The education facility will specialise in modern blockchain technology, win-win economics, sustainable entrepreneurship and biochemical research. The mission is to find different solutions for a sustainable future and to be an open source of knowledge and an inspiring example for both individuals in the country aswell as for international education systems.
It is Peter´s experience that Burundians are naturally environment-conscious people, with high-level questions on the sustainability of affairs. People are generally very well motivated to contribute to a sustainable future and to thrive in a sustainable manner. This which makes the atmosfare even more inspiring and positive and the project is highly interesting to a assossiation like EAC (East African Congress) and could function well as a roll model for not previously electrified parts of Africa.
The energy plant in Kabonga is exclusively renewable, including storage. No CO2 compensation is therefore necessary for the energy production in and of itself. However, as the electrification will lead to jobs and economic growth in the area and therefore to increased consumption and emissions associated with higher economic activity, Blockhomes Burundi will seek to compensate for this through its TREE4LIFE campaign. This campain means that for every 100 USD invested, 10 USD will go into planting a tree. It will also be possible to invest in trees only. Such investors will be offered a GPS position on Google Earth from which they can literally watch their trees growing online.
Blockhomes Burundi will manage the cultivation of trees for Power One and the selection in this region will be fruit trees like avocado and mango plants – a delicious investment in sustainability!
A full grown Mango Tree