Chile supreme court halts Patagonia dam project

May 13, 2012
Conservationists protest against the project to build several hydroelectric power stations in the Chilean Patagonia, in Santiago, Chile in 2011. Chile's supreme court has halted construction on the Rio Cuervo hydroelectric project in the country's remote and pristine Patagonia region, after accepting an appeal from environmental groups.

Chile's supreme court has halted construction on the Rio Cuervo hydroelectric project in the country's remote and pristine Patagonia region, after accepting an appeal from environmental groups.

The court's decision on Friday ran counter to a recommendation by a regional environmental review commission to give the green light to the project, developed by a joint venture of Australia's Origin Energy and Xstrata Copper.

The Rio Cuervo project is part of a larger plan to build three dams with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts in the area around Aysen.

Environmental groups filed a petition against the scheme, saying it will wreak havoc in the region's unspoiled wilderness.

Chile's high court accepted the appeal and ruled the environmental review board had ignored a recommendation from the national geology and mining service to reject a done by the joint venture, known as Energia Austral.

The court ordered that a new soil survey be carried out before a new vote on approval of the project.

On Saturday, Energia Austral said it would comply with the court's wishes, noting that "in no way should the court's ruling be understood as a rejection of the project under evaluation."

The separate Hidroaysen project to build another five in the Aysen region of Patagonia is already in the final stages of the approval process.

That $3.2 billion initiative, a joint venture of Colbun and , would generate 2,750 of electricity, but the dams would flood 14,600 acres (5,900 hectares) of pristine land.

Chile's supreme court has given the green light for that project to go ahead.

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Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (5) May 13, 2012
What the hell do environmental extremists want?

You can't even make renewable energy because they complain every time you make a dam, wind farm, or solar farm.
Terriva
1 / 5 (3) May 13, 2012
The energy cannot be considered renewable, if we destroy some unrecoverable life environment during its production. But monetary economics cannot account to the price of life environment until someone is willing to pay for it at stock market - so its proponents cannot understand this environmentalist stance. Anyway, after few years we could have cold fusion and all these wind and solar plants and water dams will go to the hell. We need more space for people and health life at the planet, not for some energy plants.
kaasinees
1.8 / 5 (5) May 13, 2012
And what do people need? ENERGY. Terriva, please your brains. WE can not support 9 billion on this planet. We will get massive poverty and war.

Building a dam can also have positive effects on life, it just means that life will move its locations.

The biggest chinese dam has very little to no impact on life whatsoever. In fact the benefits are high cause you stop a lot of coal from being combusted.

Some people are not green they are plain stupid.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (3) May 13, 2012
environmentalists are going to get the shaft. there are MASSIVE COAL SEAMS AND SHALE GAS IN PATAGONIA. the factories that extract them are going to need at least some outside source of electricity as well as nearby cities which will accomodate the miners.

hydro is VERY efficient and concentrated. i somehow doubt the greenies have any alternatives to this project and , should they push for a wind farm instead, they are going to get a nice little lesson in the economies of scale per megawatt of wind farms versus hyrdoelectric plants. fast water scales $/power better than thin wafting air.

when you look at the big dams of the world. they are the biggest single energy sources in the world . far larger than even large nuclear plants. they release ZERO emmissions after the concrete cures. they are almost the 'free' lunch of carbon free emissions and no one gives much of a crap about river fish either as they are not a large source for export. yea yea, biodiversity will suffer....