Hydro still king here, but not so Pharaonic


Hydroelectric power is the 800-pound gorilla on Brazil’s energy scene. And with numerous new dam projects scheduled, it looks likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. But there’s change in store, government and hydroelectric industry officials say: Dams on the drawing boards now call for smaller reservoirs—and, thus, reduced environmental and social impact. Whether this shift actually occurs remains to be seen, of course. Still, government and industry officials insist increased land and relocation costs have made the change a financial necessity. These costs have risen mainly as a result of a two-year-old Environment Ministry law requiring dam builders to reach agreements with those directly affected by the projects. The accords, addressing everything from replacement housing to alternative livelihoods for... [Log in to read more]

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