GSEP's minihydro power plant in the Philippines receives UNESCO recognition

February 12, 2014

The Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership is proud to announce that its Ifugao-Ambangal minihydro power plant in the Philippines was recently selected by the UNESCO in their first world catalogue of good practices in energy sustainability.

UNESCO highlighted that “Thanks to the efforts deployed by UNESCO and initiatives like the GSEP’s Ifugao-Ambangal Mini-hydro project, the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras were removed from the list of World Heritage in Danger in June 2012. The project is a perfect example of true sustainable energy development, providing much needed clean, renewable electricity to the region, improving quality of life for people working in the rice terraces, and contributing to the conservation of a world-renowned cultural heritage.” We are proud to say that the project is being replicated in Asipulo, Ifugao by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency on the Likud river.

GSEP’s Ifugao-Ambangal minihydro power plant, completed in 2010 by our member company TEPCO, featured the installation of a 200 kW run-of-the-river hydropower plant on the Ambangal river in order to increase the supply of clean, renewable electricity to the municipality of Kiangan. Central to this project was the establishment of the Rice Terrace Conservation Fund that helps finance local terrace conservation activities through the plant’s power sales. The Ifugao rice terraces, ancient sprawling man-made structures from 2000 years ago, are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and at the time of the project’s inception, were listed as endangered.

The Ifugao-Ambangal hydropower facility benefits the residents in several ways. In the short term, 180 local jobs were created raising the level of income in the community, with 6 permanent jobs for the operations of the plant. The plant generates on average 1,200 MWh per year of reliable and clean electricity, meeting between 15-18% of the province’s needs. The project’s power sales to the local electricity distribution cooperative, IFELCO, secure around US$70,000 annually for the conservation fund. Since its inauguration, 11 rice terrace conservation projects have been implemented.