Colombian court rules in favor of El Quimbo hydro

The administrative court of Cundinmarca in Colombia has ruled that Emgesa and the Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales (Anla) complied with regulatory guidelines for the 400-MW El Quimbo hydropower project and its environmental permit will not be suspended.

El Quimbo began operating in November 2015 in the southern Huila department, with construction work beginning in 2010. Using the waters of the Suaza and Magdalana rivers, El Quimbo supplies about 4% of Colombia’s total electricity with an average annual generation of 2,216 GWh. It cost US$1.23 billion to build.

“Among the main benefits of El Quimbo Hydroelectric Power Plant for the country are to guarantee the reliability of the energy supply, increase the energy security and stability of the Colombian electricity system and contribute significantly to the Nation’s energy self-sufficiency,” Emgesa says.

The local Huila government requested that the court suspend this permit, alleging project operator Emgesa “failed to fulfill commitments related to environmental and social investments following a 2016 public consultation,” according to BNamericas.

HydroWorld reported in 2010 that a consortium formed by Alstom (now GE) and Colombian company Schrader Camargo signed a contract with Emgesa to supply and assemble electromechanical equipment for El Quimbo.

In addition, Anla recently announced the launch of a public consultation process regarding the terms of reference for preparing an Environmental Diagnosis of Alternatives (DAA) for the construction and operation of hydroelectric plants.