Dam plan angers many Chileans

Courts to decide hydropower project's fate as critics mobilise against energy "monopolisation".

    Chile's courts are considering whether to allow a massive hydroelectric plant to be built in the country's Patagonia region, but the Chilean population is not happy about the probable construction.

    The government gave final approval for it in May, saying the country desperately needs more energy.

    Miriam Chible, a restaurant owner in the area, told Al Jazeera: "We all want our businesses to grow, but we don't want to industrialise in an exacerbated way, and we need a corresponding energy policy."

    While opponents support alternative-energy solutions to satisfy the country's needs, Chile's regulations make developing renewable energies too difficult, experts say, even though they would be cheaper than imported petroleum.

    But some community members think the problem is not just the potential environmental damage, but also a problem of ownership and control.

    "This whole debate is not just about the ecological impacts but also about the monopolistic power of energy companies in a country that has alternatives," Paz Foitzick, a community leader, said.

    Al Jazeera's Craig Mauro presents the second of two special reports. See the first report here.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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