Hydro-power dam project approved in Chile

08:32, May 11, 2011      

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The controversial HidroAysen power project was given the green light Monday by local environmental assessment authority amid protests.

The HidroAysen project, with an estimated cost of 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, is designed to have an installed capacity of 2,750 megawatts and an annual energy production of 18,430 GWh by 2025.

The project is severely resisted by local communities and environmental groups, arguing that the ecosystem of the Patagonia would suffer irreversible damage.

With a flooding of 5,900 hectares, the project proposes the construction of five hydroelectric power stations, two in Baker river and three in Pascua river, in the Chilean Patagonian region, some 1,700 km south of Santiago.

Given the low percentage of renewable energy in the country -- about 3 percent -- and popular rejection of nuclear power after Japan's radiation accident, the Chilean government has to promote hydro power and thermal power.

President Sebastian Pinera warned Sunday that there would be more coal-fired power plants if hydropower cannot be fully used.

Source: Xinhua
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