Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org
“We are countless compared to the infinitesimal contingency who live to profit off of water. For the purposes of Patagonia Rising, screening now in New York and beyond, that includes the privatization capitalists of HidroAysen, which is planning to build five hydroelectric power plants (marketspeak for dams) to choke off Chile’s glacially fed Baker and Pascua rivers, two of the planet’s purest. Signed by President Sebastien Pinera, the first billionaire to be sworn into the Chilean presidency, but stalled thanks to vigorous protests, HidroAysen would effectively hand over almost all of Chile’s energy market to a duopoly run by Spain’s Endesa and Italy’s Enel. And they’re not exactly hiding their distaste for environmental impact of five dams cornering the prize jewel of Patagonia’s freshwater business.”
“This exploits the best use of water,” a HidroAysen executive argues in Patagonia Rising. “That’s sustainability.”
Read more: AlterNet
Photo retrieved from: www.fastcoexist.com
“Five dams have been proposed in the isolated region of Aysén in southern Chile: three on the wild, uninhabited Pascua River, and two on the Baker. The most voluminous river in Chile, the Baker (BAH-ker) is the thundering, silvery blue heart of Aysén, and the core of the region’s history and lore. The $10 billion project, proposed by private, multi-national developer HidroAysén, will generate a whopping 2,750 megawatts, energy that will be shipped north to power Chile’s growing population center via a 1,400-mile transmission line. “In 10 years, we have to double our energy production,” says María Irene Soto, HidroAysén’s communications chief.
Chile’s neoliberal economic model demands a high rate of economic growth, “and energy is the basis of growth,” says Soto. The country imports approximately 75% of its energy in the form of coal, diesel, and natural gas; advocates see the dams in Aysén as the solution to a cleaner and cheaper energy mix. Detractors insist that mega-dams are “dinosaur” technology, and that the increase in energy production is not targeted at the private sector at all, but rather mines in Chile’s northern desert; that the environmental damage will just beget more environmental damage.”
Read more: Co.Exist
Pascua river, Patagonia. Retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org
“An environmental review commission in the Aysén region of southern Chile has made a potentially disastrous decision, voting to approve the construction of five hydroelectric dams, two on the Baker River and three on the Pascua. The damage these dams would do to the environment is tremendous, and their construction — in a largely unspoiled natural haven — would open the way for further development, including more dams.
The Baker and Pascua Rivers flow into the wild fiords that thread their way along the southern Chilean coast. The dams would partially flood a national park as well as portions of a landscape that Chile had been hoping to have named a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The vote follows an environmental review that looked only at the immediate consequences of construction and not the long-term effects on the ecology of these watersheds or the downstream risks of damming short, violent, glacial rivers that are subject to abrupt outburst floods from the lakes above them. To deliver the power they would generate — some 2.75 gigawatts — Chile would have to build a 1,400-mile corridor of power lines to the north, creating the longest clear-cut on the planet.”
Read more: New York Times