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Long Tanid Village


Conservation benefit: Protection of 1,379 acres of pristine rainforest for 15 years

Community benefit: Micro-hydro installation

Date Approved: 02.2021


This project promotes sustainable energy production, helping reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and slowing global warming.


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

The village of Long Tanid sought Seacology’s support to complete a 12-kilowatt micro-hydro installation. The community has agreed to protect more than a thousand acres of pristine Borneo forest for 15 years.

Most people in Long Tanid, a community in the highlands of Borneo, are subsistence rice farmers. The villagers are members of the Lun Bawang ethnic group, an indigenous minority. The men are famous for their traditional tree bark jackets. The organic rice the farmers grow is renowned for its high nutrient content, but they have poor access to markets.

The conservation area is old-growth hardwood rainforest. The region is a biodiversity hotspot, with 130 species of orchids, 40 species of ginger, and the greatest variety of rhododendrons in Borneo. There are an estimated 250 bird species, including the flashy hornbills. Pangolins, gibbons, red langurs, Hose’s leaf monkeys, bearded pigs, and Malayan porcupines also live here. Conserving their habitat will also reduce erosion, siltation, water scarcity in the dry season, and floods in the rainy season.

Like most communities in Borneo, Long Tanid is under constant pressure from timber and oil palm interests; there is a large logging concession nearby. Setting aside the forest for conservation helps the community resist this pressure.

Installing a micro-hydro system helps the community fulfill its dream of forming a rice-milling cooperative. Energy from micro-hydro is 80% cheaper than electricity from a diesel generator. And micro-hydro makes use of the rivers that course down Borneo’s mountains, without disturbing them or the surrounding forest.

Our partner is Green Empowerment, which brings renewable energy to remote communities around the world. We have worked with them other successful Borneo micro-hydro projects. They have also worked with Seacology Prize recipient Adrian (Banie) Lasimbang and his organization, which is known for community engagement and whose engineers are almost all from indigenous communities.

Project Updates

June 2023

Thanks to the collaborative building and training focus of our project partner TONIBUNG, this project is now self-sustaining. Community members can maintain the system and ensure community collections for ongoing maintenance. Members of the village micro-hydro committee conduct forest surveys every two months and have put up signs around the conservation area. The village chief is inspired to use the new power source to begin an ecotourism initiative.

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February 2023

In the last year, the micro-hydro equipment replaced the use of 35 diesel generators in the village. That’s about 32,500 liters of diesel fuel. Our partner, TONIBUNG, is using Long Tanid as a pilot site for an innovative new machine that can harvest and husk an acre of rice in an hour—work that would take an individual farmer four days. This innovation, when partnered with 24/7 accessibility of electricity, could greatly reduce the farmers’ workload and increase everyone’s productivity. The community is actively protecting the watershed area; there have been no incursions.

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June 2022

The micro-hydro equipment is fully functional. The community is now trialing an internal tariff system and setting up community conservation protocols and monitoring. The field team from TONIBUNG (the Borneo NGO that helps villages with micro-hydro systems) went to Long Tanid in April for a week of monitoring the micro-hydro operations, repairing electricity meters, and conservation training. They discussed the challenging topic of tariff collection within the community, to ensure there will be funds for maintenance and repairs. They also conducted a workshop on watershed conservation. The community is actively protecting the watershed.

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February 2022

Despite Covid-related travel restrictions within Malaysian Borneo, the micro-hydro equipment has been installed, and an engineer from TONIBUNG was able to get a permit to enter the village. They are working to finalize installation of a transmission line and hope to finish the project by early summer. The community is actively protecting the watershed area.

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June 2021

Our project partners have made good progress, installing most of the micro-hydro equipment. But before the turbine can start running, an engineer from TONIBUNG, the organization that supplies technical help and training, needs to get to the village. Right now, travel restrictions make that impossible.

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