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Brazil Clash of cultures over Amazon dams - kharasach.com

Brazil Clash of cultures over Amazon dams

A battle is under way in the Amazon region of Brazil between indigenous groups and river dwellers on the one hand and big corporations on the other as the latter go ahead with their plans to build huge dams to meet Brazil's energy needs.
The BBC's South America correspondent Wyre Davies has been to see what is set to become the world's fourth largest dam, already under construction, and the indigenous area next in line for development.

From the heart of the planet's greatest rainforest one of the world's biggest civil engineering projects is emerging.
The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam is a monolithic monument to progress.

When its 18 huge turbines are fully operational, its electricity-generating capacity will make it the world's fourth largest dam, capable of generating 11,000 MW of energy.

At an estimated cost of $18bn (£15bn) the huge structure has been mired in controversy amid evidence of corruption and collusion between some of Brazil's biggest construction companies and the government.

A battle is under way in the Amazon region of Brazil between indigenous groups and river dwellers on the one hand and big corporations on the other as the latter go ahead with their plans to build huge dams to meet Brazil's energy needs.
The BBC's South America correspondent Wyre Davies has been to see what is set to become the world's fourth largest dam, already under construction, and the indigenous area next in line for development.

From the heart of the planet's greatest rainforest one of the world's biggest civil engineering projects is emerging.
The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam is a monolithic monument to progress.

When its 18 huge turbines are fully operational, its electricity-generating capacity will make it the world's fourth largest dam, capable of generating 11,000 MW of energy.

At an estimated cost of $18bn (£15bn) the huge structure has been mired in controversy amid evidence of corruption and collusion between some of Brazil's biggest construction companies and the government.

A battle is under way in the Amazon region of Brazil between indigenous groups and river dwellers on the one hand and big corporations on the other as the latter go ahead with their plans to build huge dams to meet Brazil's energy needs.
The BBC's South America correspondent Wyre Davies has been to see what is set to become the world's fourth largest dam, already under construction, and the indigenous area next in line for development.

From the heart of the planet's greatest rainforest one of the world's biggest civil engineering projects is emerging.
The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam is a monolithic monument to progress.

When its 18 huge turbines are fully operational, its electricity-generating capacity will make it the world's fourth largest dam, capable of generating 11,000 MW of energy.

At an estimated cost of $18bn (£15bn) the huge structure has been mired in controversy amid evidence of corruption and collusion between some of Brazil's biggest construction companies and the government.

Luiz Augusto Barroso is the President of EPE, the Brazilian government's energy planning agency.

He advocates a mixed energy "matrix" and points out that Brazil has never been as dependent on fossil fuels as other developing countries like China or India have.

"I would definitely defend [hydroelectricity]. I think it makes sense for the country and it's a resource that benefits society and we should be properly informed about the alternatives before we consider not going ahead with these projects," says Mr Barroso.

"Let's not forget that in the developed world almost 70% of the hydro potential has already been exploited, whereas here in Brazil, 70% of our hydro has not been explored yet," he adds.

But environmentalists say that Brazil's heavy reliance on hydroelectric power means the sector has a far greater carbon impact, through rotting vegetation, flooded forests and the physical impact of dam construction, than the government cares to admit.
Next in line

Mr Barroso is cautious about giving the number of dams that might eventually be built in the Amazon, especially big costly mega-projects like Belo Monte
But as many as 100 hydroelectric projects were envisaged in the government's National Energy Plan

While going a long way to meeting Brazil's future energy needs, the construction of so many structures on the world's greatest river system would have a huge impact on the environment and its people.
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