The island is a safe haven for one of the world’s most vulnerable marine species… sea turtles. In order to protect Ilha do Fogo’s habitat, for all wildlife, the island’s directors vowed to keep the island as low-impact on the environment as possible.
Many islands are powered almost entirely by fossil fuels, however, the environmental impact of producing this type of energy went against everything the Fire Island Conservation team is working towards.
The NPO’s chief of operations, Jan van Deventer, states “Running Ilha do Fogo purely on solar energy just makes sense. We had already developed a number of solar stills to harvest fresh water on the island, so the transition to run all our energy needs on solar power was the logical next step.”
The 120KW solar plant was installed on Ilha do Fogo in November 2022. Although the island has accommodation for guests in the manner of ‘floating’ ensuite tents, it has only recently opened up to eco-tourism. With the solar system currently operating at a fairly low usage level, it is generating an average of 6000 kWh per month. This translates to a reduction of around 70,000 kg of CO2 annually. However, it can easily generate 13,000 kWh per month to accommodate our guests on the island, which equates to an annual reduction of 156,000 kg of CO2.
The project’s conservation manager, Esther Jacobs, states “The island is truly a biodiversity hotspot and we aim to do everything in our power to protect its marine and terrestrial populations. Running on diesel-power energy goes against our ethics. Not only would this type of energy create a huge carbon footprint just in transporting fuel to the island, but would also emit pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter, which can be harmful to the wildlife.”
Even the accommodation was carefully considered to minimise any environmental impact. “There are 10 tented suites sitting atop platforms that were built to ensure the existing ecosystems and vegetation stayed intact,” says Jan. “With each tent sleeping two people, we could feasibly have 20 guests staying at any given time. However, we want to keep guest capacity to a maximum of 12, ensuring our impact remains at a minimum.”
Ilha do Fogo accommodation is part of Unfound Africa’s portfolio of unparalleled destinations and undiscovered locations. Each offering in the collection has been selected for uniqueness, inspiring guests to protect their biodiversity and culture. A percentage of the proceeds from all Unfound Africa bookings are donated to Fire Island Conservation projects.
You can read more about Fire Island Conservation on their website: www.fireislandconservation.com