Proposed Dam in Chile’s Region XI (Patagonia) Delayed… For Now

Baker River, Patagonia - Chile
Baker River, Patagonia – Chile

HidroAysén – a $3.2 billion dollar energy project that would develop five hydroelectric dams on Baker and Pascua Rivers in Chile’s Patagonia area, delayed its official response to the thousands of questions concerning this controversial project until June 30, 2010.

The Italian owned company, Endesa, and its Chilean associate Colbun, were first stalled in November of 2008 when government authorities denied their Environmental Impact Evaluation Report (EIA) because it “failed to address many environmental concerns raised by government agencies and private groups”. In October of 2009 proceedings were suspended until HidroAysén could offer a more comprehensive report to address these concerns.

HidroAysén maintains the dams will have minimum impact on the surrounding area and that it will not have a negative effect on the growing tourism industries.

Critics say the project will destroy one of the world’s few remaining pristine regions and consolidate too much economic and political power in the hands of a foreign company. They also say it will destroy southern Chile’s fledgling tourism industry and that recent studies show that Chile can easily meet future energy needs without the HidroAysén project.” – The Patagonia Times

* ENDESA is the leading utility in the Spanish electricity system and the number one private electricity company in Latin America. It is a significant player in the energy sector of the European Mediterranean region. It also has a growing presence in the Spanish natural gas market and is advancing rapidly in the area of renewable energy. (Endesa website)