Low-impact dam, but controversial location


As hydropower alternatives go, small-scale run-of-river projects usually please green advocates thanks to their typically light environmental impact. But a Chilean Supreme Court decision in January to allow a run-of-river power station has drawn the sustained ire of environmental groups. The issue is the location: Puyehue National Park, in Chile’s Lake District. The US$20 million Palmar-Correntoso project, to be carried out by Hidroaustral, an affiliate of the Italian firm Idroenergia, is slated to begin work in earnest before the end of the year. It entails the construction in Puyehue of two run-of-the-river dams linked to a single power-generating station with an installed capacity of 13 megawatts. Seven Chilean senators and congressmen filed a lawsuit... [Log in to read more]

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