A panel of Chilean Cabinet ministers voted unanimously on Tuesday to reject the 3.2 billion dollars HidroAysen mega-project, which envisioned the construction of five power-generating dams in the environmentally sensitive Patagonia region.
A controversial plan to power central Chile by damming Patagonian rivers is doable, the project's head said dismissing criticism from leading presidential candidate Michelle Bachelet that HidroAysen is not viable.
Chile’s biggest dam project involving 7 billion dollars and already delayed by protests over plans to flood 14,000 acres of Patagonia wilderness, suffered a fresh setback after one of its investors said the venture lacks political support to proceed.
President Sebastián Piñera announced a 20-year plan for Chile’s energy needs at the annual energy dinner in front of the country’s top executives in the electricity sector. The president said the plan aims to create “a cleaner energy, that is safer, more economical and that agrees with the energy requirements of our country.”
Chile, a country where the demand for energy has skyrocketed over the past decade, experts are gathering to discuss another answer to Latin America’s increasing energy needs: solar power.
A Chilean court on Monday ordered the suspension of a project to build a complex of five hydroelectric dams in the Patagonian wilderness, bowing to appeals by lawmakers and environmental groups.
Public support for Chile’s conservative President Sebastián Piñera fell to a new low of 36%, according to an Adimark poll released Thursday, while outright rejection of Piñera’s government reached a record 56%.
The New York Times has joined the Aysén region project controversy in Chilean Patagonia which was recently approved but has triggered massive protests from environmentalists and an overwhelming rejection from the majority of the population according to public opinion polls.
Citizens protested on the streets of 27 Chilean cities on Saturday. The demonstrations were strategically planned to coincide with President Sebastián Piñera’s annual May 21 speech. In many areas, peaceful demonstrations morphed into violent riots.
By José Aylwin - The Santiago Times Publisher Steve Anderson’s editorial note: There are many reasons for the ongoing Chilean national anguish about the US$7.5 billion HidroAysén dam in Patagonia and transmission line project.