HidroAysén wins another court battle

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chile's supreme court has thrown out as inadmissible appeals against the country's general water authority DGA concerning the granting of water rights of the Baker and Pascua rivers to the 2.75GW HidroAysén hydroelectric project, the JV behind the project said in a statement.

The appeals were made in 2008 by environmental groups against the use of the rivers in the southern Aysén region for the mega hydro.

The case is the latest in a series won by the JV.

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Earlier this month, a court in Puerto Montt lifted the suspension of work on the project. The suspension had been in place since June following the same court's ruling to uphold an appeal lodged by several Chilean senators and environmental groups which challenged the legality of HidroAysén's approval.

The contentious project envisions the construction of five dams across the Baker and Pascua rivers and a 2,000km transmission line to bring power up to capital Santiago.

Those opposed to the project argue that the works would do irreparable harm to land in Patagonia. HidroAysén meanwhile argues the scheme is fundamental to Chile's energy security and will save millions of dollars in reduced energy imports.

Chilean generators Endesa Chile and Colbún are behind the US$7bn project.