Protest over Brazil hydro drives delay and boosts cost

Stephan Nielsen & Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg, 06/06/2013

Protests by indigenous people inBrazil’s Amazon region over hydroelectric projects are boosting costs for companies building dams including Odebrecht SA and Grupo Andrade Gutierrez SA, said Energy Minister Edison Lobao.

The developers “claim that the invasions raise the projects’ costs, and in fact it does, and can even cause the stoppage of works,” Lobao told reporters in Brasilia today.

Indigenous groups say the plants threaten the local environment. The conflict between developers and local tribes will become more pressing with about 10 new hydro projects planned in the Amazon region with more than 10,000 megawatts of capacity over the next decade, according to Erik Eduardo Rego, director of the energy consulting company Excelencia Energia.

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Brazil’s hydroelectric dam boom is bringing tensions as well as energy

Juan Forero – The Guardian, 02/12/2013

When it is completed in 2015, the Jirau hydroelectric dam will span 8km across the Madeira river and feature more giant turbines than any other dam in the world. Then there are the power lines, draped along 2,250km of forests and fields to carry electricity to Brazil‘s urban nerve centre, São Paulo.

Still, it won’t be enough. The dam and the Santo Antonio complex that is being built a few kilometres downstream will provide just 5% of what government energy planners say the country will need in the next 10 years. So Brazil is building many more dams, courting controversy by locating the vast majority in the world’s largest and most biodiverse forest.

“The investment to build these plants is very high, and they are to be put in a region which is an icon for environmental preservation, the Amazon,” said Paulo Domingues, energy planning director for the ministry of mines and energy. “So that has worldwide repercussions.”

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Brazil says no to power rationing

The Miami Herald/AP, 01/08/2012

Brazil says it will not resort to energy rationing despite low water levels in the country’s hydroelectric power plants.

The executive secretary of the Mines and Energy Ministry is Marcio Zimmermann and he tells reporters on Tuesday that Brazil will activate generators fueled by natural gas if needed.

A hotter than usual summer and lack of rain have caused water levels at hydroelectric dams in most of the country to drop to a third of their capacity. The levels are similar to those registered in 2001, when rationing was imposed and blackouts occurred.

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Judge halts construction on Brazil’s Belo Monte dam

Mariano Castillo – CNN, 8/15/2012

(CNN) — A Brazilian court has ordered an immediate halt to construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam project in the Amazon.

It’s the latest twist in a long-brewing battle between the Brazilian government and local indigenous communities over the Belo Monte dam.

The government has backed the construction of what would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam, while activists argue that it would displace thousands of local residents and damage the environment.

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