COHECO gets Gold Award for Kapangan hydro project


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KAPANGAN, Benguet  – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Power Awards conferred to the Kapangan-based Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO) the Gold Award for Hydro Power Project of the year during the 2019 Awards Night at the Shangrila Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently.

The award was given to COHECO executives by Asian Power Awards dubbed as the Oscars of the power industry to recognize groundbreaking projects and trailblazing initiatives of the best power companies in Asia.

COHECO bested more than 200 entries from the Asia-Pacific region. COHECO was nominated by GHD as an entry for the said award.

The criteria for judging of the prestigious award included uniqueness and innovation of the power project to introduce new or cutting-edge innovation, effectiveness and impact whether the project achieved its objectives and targets and its impact to the industry and dynamism and flexibility of the project to changes and progressive opportunities.

The awards were expertly judged by John Yeap, Partner, head of Energy – Asia at Pinsent Masons; Mike Thomas, Partner at The Lantau Group; Petteri Harkki, Regional Director for Asia of Poyry; Wen Bin Lim, Director of Power and Utilities at KPMG; and Gervasius Samosir, Partner at YCP Solidiance.

In 2015, COHECO started developing its 600-megawatt run-of-river hydro project which intends to tap part of the Amubrayan River in Kapangan town to generate dependable, low-cost electricity and expects to boost socio-economic growth in the host and neighboring communities.

The project is geared towards improving Cordillera’s competitiveness and reinforcing the country’s commitment to increase the share of renewables in its total energy mix, with energy consumption expected to nearly double in the year 2040.

COHECO’s $2 million investment by Filipino investors includes not only the cost of the facility but also the development studies, securing of permits, clearances and right-of-way, construction of access roads that have not existed before the commencement of the project and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, specifically reforestation projects among others beneficial to the host and neighboring communities.

COHECO’s facility is a run-of-river-type plant because it does not entail impounding of river water, instead of dam, a 7-meter high weir will be built in the village of Cuba in Kapangan. Through the weir-river flow, the same is then diverted to an 8-kilometer tunnel, which exits at the neighboring village of Badeo in Kibungan town where surge tank and penstock will convey the water to run the turbines in the powerhouse.

In 2008, COHECO was organized by a Korean businessman who allegedly used some locals as his alleged fronts to be able to register the same as a corporation.

However, after securing all the necessary permits and securing the consent of the affected indigenous peoples and the host communities, he allegedly transferred the company to Filipino owners in alleged exchange of a huge sum of money. By HENT