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Ifugao Ambangal Minihydro Power Plant

Key results

  • First minihydro plant in the province of Ifugao with an installed capacity of 200 kW
  • Providing electricity to the previously underserved community of Kiangan
  • Featured by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in their first world catalogue of good practices in energy sustainability as an example of true sustainable energy development
  • Trailblazer in the development of a replicable model of local, sustainable energy-based development and regional vitalization
  • Innovative creation of a Rice Terrace Conservation Fund that uses funds from power sales to restore and conserve the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Replicated in 2015 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Energy of the Philippines in Asipulo, Ifugao
  • An estimated 600 tons of COemissions avoided per year

In 2010, we commissioned the 200 kW run-of-the-river Ifugao Ambangal minihydro power plant in the Philippines. It provides clean, renewable electricity to the agricultural community of Kiangan, Ifugao and improves the residents’ livelihood by supporting their rice farming practices.

Central to this project was the establishment of the Rice Terrace Conservation Fund, which uses profits from power sales to finance local terrace conservation. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras are man-made structures built over 2000 years ago. They are a central part of the area’s history, culture, and way of life. At the time of the project’s commissioning in 2010, they were listed as an endangered World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education and Social Council (UNESCO). In June 2012, they were removed from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger. UNESCO highlighted the importance of our project in its 2014 World Catalogue of Good Practices in Energy Sustainability and its role in helping to revitalize the rice terraces.

The Ifugao Ambangal minihydro 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 created for the operation 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 plant’s power sales to the local Ifugao Electric Cooperative (IFELCO), secure around 70,000 USD annually for the conservation fund. Since its inauguration, 11 rice terrace conservation projects have been implemented. In addition, farming practices have been improved. The irrigation system was enhanced by distributing water from the headrace directly to the rice paddies, and irrigation practices were given a priority during the river’s low season through scheduled plant maintenance shutdowns.

The significant involvement of local community stakeholders during the pre-feasibility and feasibility phases was essential to the success of the project. Several public hearings, surveys and outreach activities were conducted during the pre-construction phase to ensure local stakeholders’ broad understanding and support. The project was replicated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Energy of the Philippines in Asipulo, Ifugao in 2015.

"At the start when the team were coming to consult with us, we were doubtful and suspicious. We were concerned because part of our forest and rice land will be affected. But after the series of meetings and contacts, I began to change my mind, especially when I saw how the team was seriously working even during bad weather. This was also observed by our neighbours. We gave our consent even if we were not 100% sure. It was a good decision and I was happy when the project started construction and the lands affected were compensated. During the inauguration, there were many people who attended. I am convinced that the project, as they have been saying during the many community meetings, is for the benefit of the community."


The Philippines Ifugao-Ambangal Mini-hydro Project

Clean, renewable hydropower protecting the “Stairways to Heaven".



  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Électricité de France (EDF)
  • Enel
  • Hydro-Québec
  • RWE
  • Department of Energy of the Philippines
  • Ifugao provincial government
  • Kiangan municipal government
  • Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office
  • UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines


Please note that the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership will cease operations as of the end of June 2024.