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With a 190 m high dam and an underground machine room holding the country's three largest generators, the power plant uses water from the Sogamoso River to generate electric energy. With 820 MW of installed capacity and annual average generation of 5,056 GWh/year, this is the fourth largest hydroelectric power plant in Colombia. It will increase our energy production by close to 60% and will provide the country with around 8,3% of the energy consumed by Colombians each year.

The plant is located in the department of Santander, in the canyon where the Sogamoso River crosses the La Paz Mountain Range. The project is 75 km upstream from the point where the river empties into the Magdalena River, and 62 km downstream from the confluence of the Suárez and Chicamocha Rivers.

The reservoir and dam are under the jurisdiction of the Girón, Betulia, Zapatoca, Los Santos, Lebrija and San Vicente de Chucurí municipalities. These towns, together with the downstream municipalities of Barrancabermeja, Puerto Wilches and Sabana de Torres, make up the poewr plant's area of influence.

We carry out comprehensive social and environmental management so that the plant is installed in the region considering the future. The plant is a real opportunity for the area of influence through interactions that contribute to environmental protection, social development and economic growth. In order to achieve this, we have aligned our strategies with the Environmental Management Plan programs and with complementary management, which is designed to address the social and biophysical components (fauna, flora, air, water and soil).

The Colombian Society of Engineers chose us as the winners of the 2015 National Engineering Award for the leadership and management of our Sogamoso Hydroelectric Project, a mega-project that generates social and economic development for Santander and Colombia.

Guidelines for Alternative Uses of the Topocoro reservoir

The Topocoro reservoir, which covers approximately 7,000 ha, is one of Colombia’s largest reservoirs and holds the largest volume of water, with 4,800 million m3. In addition, its scenic beauty, surrounding roads that connect it to cities such as Bucaramanga, Barrancabermeja, and municipalities within the area of influence, and its strategic location in Santander have generated expectations for tourist development by communities, institutions, and other stakeholders.

To respond to these expectations and in accordance with the business proposal to position the power plant as a real development opportunity for the region, our Company contracted Fundación Humedales to develop a study named: Topocoro reservoir, formulation of the Sogamoso Hydroelectric Power Plant ordinance plan, which, by means of a participatory methodology, defined the reservoir’s alternative uses to power generation.

The technical study was developed in stages, taking into consideration environmental limitations and social, economic, legal, and technical aspects, aimed at establishing the optimal conditions for identifying uses alternative to power generation done in a manner consistent with conservation of biodiversity and in coordination with the land use plans and systems of the six municipalities that have jurisdiction in the reservoir and with the Regional District of Integrated Management (DRMI, for the Spanish original) of the Autonomous Corporation of Santander (CAS, for the Spanish original). The result was potential uses for: artisanal and subsistence fishing, water transportation, nautical sports and recreation, drinking water, nature tourism and the conservation of biodiversity.

As the leading institution and manager of regional development, the Santander Assembly embraced the document and managed its approval by formulating a draft ordinance, which was in turn studied by the Department Assembly. In August 2017, the entity approved Ordinance 038, by which governor Didier Tavera Amado was authorized to adopt the guidelines for the alternative uses of the Topocoro reservoir. This is the first time in Colombia that a project has been approved to order the use of a reservoir.

The Santander Governor’s Office created the Topocoro reservoir Inter-institutional Committee (CETOP, for the Spanish original), an entity comprised of 31 institutions and organizations, among which the National Aquaculture and Fishing Authority (AUNAP, for the Spanish original), the Autonomous Regional Corporation of the Bucaramanga Plateau (CDMB, for the Spanish original), the Colombian Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA, for the Spanish original), the Ministry of Transportation, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of Hidrosogamoso’s Area of Influence (Corsogamoso, for the Spanish original), the Office of the Attorney General, and ISAGEN, among other institutions, stand out.

Once the guidelines for alternative uses of the Topocoro reservoir are adopted by the Santander Governor’s Office, the CETOP, on behalf of the Santander Governor’s Office Department of Planning, is the entity that will generate the dynamics for various initiatives to develop within the frame of what was approved under the ordinance.

Our environmental management

The environment in which we build our generation projects and operate our power plants comprises three dimensions: biotic (fauna and flora), physical (water, air and soil) and social. Whenever we carry out activities, we consider the relationship between these three dimensions, and commit ourselves to comprehensive environmental management that includes the identification, assessment, prevention, correction, mitigation and offsetting of negative environmental and social impacts, while also seeking to reinforce any positive impacts, thereby complying with current and applicable environmental regulations.

We prepare the relevant environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans, and we always adhere to the precautionary principle, i.e. if there is any doubt regarding the effect that an action or activity on our part could cause, we do not move forward with it. We carry out this exercise in all our power plants and generation projects' areas of influence, and we implement development programs, understanding each region's characteristics and facilitating participation by the communities.

Find out more about our environmental management, the initiatives we carry out with communities from our power plants' areas of influence, and the Encomunidad media through which we promote transparent and friendly communication and information.

  •  See PDF | Technical Specifications
  •  See PDF | Report presenting results during construction of the Sogamoso Power Plant
  •  See PDF | Topocoro Reservoir Land-use Plan
  •  See PDF | Uses of the Topocoro reservoir presentation
 

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