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Baker-Pascua Project, Patagonia, Chile

- Han Kim, Ravi Manghani and Lauren Pappone. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

November 2009


The key issues in the water dispute are: the effects of the proposed hydropower project on communities proximal to and dependent on the Baker and Pascua Rivers and potential impacts on both river ecology and the surrounding area, including forest land through which new power lines would run. The Baker-Pascua Project is situated in Patagonia,Chile. The companies involved, the Chilean government, and some citizens see the rivers of southern Patagonia as a source of much-needed electricity (C). However, environmental groups, many local residents, and other citizens see the rivers as having an intrinsic value as wild rivers (V), as supporting diverse ecosystems (E), and as a source of food and tourism income for local communities. Stakeholders debate on the importance of the effects resulting from the change in the distribution of the rivers' flows (Q) caused by this project. This conflict is driven primarily by economic considerations (C), because the project is motivated by Chile's need to support its growing industries and economic development, and the involved companies' desire for a profitable energy venture. We propose that a potential solution lies in government (G), which could use economic mechanisms(C) to incentivize other more sustainable options for generating electricity. However, such an approach has been difficult to implement due to the limitations of the current institutional structures.

Questions Addressed and Wisdom Gained

Key questions addressed in the case study are: 1)What is the perceived discord between economic growth and environmental conservation? 2) What priority is science given in political decisions?Here we find that it is difficult to determine what defines sound science in a recent and highly controversial issue. The Baker- Pascua Project dispute illustrates the difficulties in reconciling between government and foreign company led economic growth and river basins' environmental capacity.

1. Issues, Stakeholders and Relevant NSS Variables



Variables Involved

Effects of hydropower project on communities

HidroAysén, local residents, Chilean government

V, C

Impacts on river ecology

Domestic and International environmental groups, local communities

E, Q

Impacts on surrounding forest

Eco-tourist businesses, local communities

E, C

2. Description of the Setting

Baker River


Aisén Region,Chile

Watershed Area (km2)


Length (km)


Mean Annual discharge (m3/s)


Top uses of water


Pascua River


Aisén Region,Chile

Watershed Area (km2)


Length (km)


Mean Annual discharge (m3/s)


Top uses of water


The Baker and Pascua Rivers are fed by the largest ice fields in the world outside of Greenland and Antarctica. Despite being only 170 km long, the Baker River has the highest flow of any river in Chile at an average of 870 cubic meters per second (m3/s),[1] drains 26,726 km2 of land,[2] is Chile's largest remaining wild river, and runs along the edge of a proposed national park. Half its water comes from Lake General Carrera, South America's second largest and deepest lake, shared by Chile and Argentina. The other half of the Baker River's water comes from ice melt from the northern Patagonian Ice Field.[3] The Pascua River is also short, at only 62 km, but has the third largest flow of Chilean rivers (574 m3/s), and remains largely untouched due to limited accessibility and class 6+ whitewater that makes much of it impossible to navigate. Both ecosystems boast high levels of biodiversity (See Figures 1 and 2 for maps of the area.)

The area's 92,000 residents work either as sheep and cattle ranchers or in eco-tourism, serving the growing numbers of people that come to Patagonia to catch a glimpse of the wild rivers and animals in this rugged area. As plans to further develop and improve the National Park system progress, eco-tourism's potential grows.

Figure 1. Satellite image of the Baker and Pascua Rivers and the surrounding area in Patagonia

Imagery from Google Earth*[4]*

Figure 2. Designated protected areas surrounding the Baker and Pascua Rivers
Source: World Database on Protected Areas

3 Problem Definition

3.1 The Baker-Pascua Project

The proposed 4 billion USD[5] Baker-Pascua hydropower project consists of two dams on the Baker River, three on the Pascua River, and two plants to generate power for Chile's growing cities and industry. Chile is one of the fastest growing economies in South America with a GDP growth rate of 5% in 2007[6]. This growth is spurred largely by the energy-intensive copper mining industry, which makes up 7% of Chile's GDP and 57% of its exports.[7] Largely as a result of this economic growth, the demand for electricity in Chile has been increasing at a rate of about 6.7% per year for the past 20 years. Frequent droughts, which reduce the capacity of hydropower stations to generate electricity, and restricted natural gas imports from Argentina, which needs growing amounts of power to support its own economy, have led to more expensive electricity in Chile,[8] spurring the demand for development of new power sources. However, opponents of the project claim that new conservation measures caused a 1.2% decline in energy use between January and August of this year,[9] implying that continuing efficiency improvements could obviate the need for this project.

This project would create approximately 5,910 hectares of reservoir (HidroAysén, the company in charge of the project, altered its original plan to flood 9,300 hectares in response to complaints from local communities) and generate 2,750 MW (or 18,430 GWh of average annual capacity), about 20% of Chile's energy consumption.[10]The project also involves over 2,253 km (1400 miles) of power lines to transport the electricity[11] from the dams to the central power grid. The Baker and PascuaRiverswere chosen for this hydropower project largely because of their latitude. The rivers that currently provide hydropower are located in central Chile. During extreme droughts in the central region, the Baker and Pascua rivers have historically been wetter than average and have little flow variability, and will therefore contribute to a more steady supply of energy.[12] If approved, the project is scheduled to commence in 2009.[13]

HidroAysén is touting the project as one that will foster regional development. The project will also include the construction of 90 km of new roads, improvements to another 180 km, and existing landing strips in the project area, enhanced communication infrastructure, and job training. Future plans include construction of a port in the Estero Mitchell area.[14] The likely goal of framing the project in this way is to garner more local support from communities that are currently divided on the project.

3.2 The Parties Involved

HidroAysén is a joint venture between Endesa Chile and Colbún, both of which are private Chilean energy companies, with some Spanish and Italian ownership.[15] Matte Group and the Angelini Group, Chile's two largest pulp and wood product companies, also support the project, as does the Chilean government.[16] Some local residents look forward to the income they could receive by selling their land, and see the project as a way to boost investment and provide jobs. Supporters also point to Chile's plentiful supply of water, claiming that it is the most efficient and stable way to produce more energy.

Opposing the project are domestic and international environmental groups, local and international business people, salmon farmers, owners of tourist businesses, local communities and landowners near the dam sites, and many Chilean citizens. The New York Times also published an editorial denouncing the plan.[17] Project opponents claim that there are alternative, cost effective methods of electricity generation, and that such project would create more long-term economic benefits.[18] Project opponents cite environmental issues as their primary reasons to oppose the project, but seem to integrate regional pride and sovereignty issues into their philosophy. For example, one of the objecting coalitions calls itself "Defenders of the Spirit of Patagonia," and claims that Chile's problem is not lack of energy, but too much mining.[19] They also claim that the project is intended not only to supply power to support Chile's economy, but also designed to manipulate the Carbon Credit System so that companies in Europecan maintain their carbon emissions with nominal cost.[20]  Rather than implementing more costly fixes which would actually go toward reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, companies in Europe sometimes choose to pay nominal fines for exceeding their allotted "carbon cap." Then through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) they funnel the fines to companies like Endesa S.A. to build hydroelectric plants in developing countries like Chile.[21]

4 Variable Identification

This conflict can be understood as a product of the interactions and feedback among variables within both natural and societal systems as shown in Figure 3. Of three natural systems variables (Q - quantity, P - quality, and E - ecosystem) and three societal systems variables (C - economy, G - governance and institutions, and V - social norms and values), this conflict is driven primarily by C, influenced also by V, E, and Q. Economic considerations are the critical driving force, because the project is motivated by Chile's need to support its growing industries and economic development, and the involved companies' desire for a profitable energy venture. On the natural variables side, this issue is primarily about quantity (Q) and ecology (E). The quantity debate is somewhat unusual, since it is not spurred by multiple parties trying to allocate a limited amount of water. Rather, it is about how the given water should be allocated in various places: should it continue to flow as it does now, or should it be stored in a series of reservoirs? The ecological issues are products of that change in quantity: the damage the area could suffer if the proposed project moves forward and the contribution to global climate change that it could make. These changes in Q and E feedback into C as these may have potentially negative effects on the local economies of the communities in Patagonia. Values (V) are largely what drive policymakers' choices between prioritizing the economy or the natural environment. We consider government (G) could hold a solution whereby it could use economic mechanisms(C) to encourage development and exploration of other more sustainable options for generating electricity.

Finally, while policymakers should, ideally, make decisions founded in sound science, in highly politicized issues it is hard to determine what sound science is. For example, much of the research related to dams and greenhouse gas emissions is produced by hydroelectricity companies.[22]Moreover, this issue is new enough that there is very little information available in peer reviewed journals; most information comes from groups either strongly in support of or strongly in favor of the project, and other similar conflicts.

Figure 3. The Conflict Model of the Baker- Pascua Project

4.1 Economy (C)

Chile has the strongest economy in South America with a GDP per capita of 14,300 USD.  Since the 1970s, Chilehas had a strong social foundation for development with high education levels and a national health system.  This was enhanced by three stages of economic reforms. The first stage was from 1974 to 1982 when markets were liberalized and privatization was promoted.  The second stage saw tax systems changed and banking sectors strengthened.  The third stage was from the 1990 to 2000, when the capital market was fully liberalized.[23]  During this period Chile had a GDP growth rate of 7.1% which was mainly driven by traditional export products.  Copper was Chile's main export, accounting for 45% of its export earnings and 25% of GDP.[24]  Although non-traditional exports are growing at 20%, Chile's copper mining industry is still viewed as its major economic engine.[25]

Chile's economic growth, especially its copper mining export growth, has caused its energy consumption to grow exponentially (refer to Figure 4).  With demand for electricity increasing Chile initiated the 1982 Electrical Act which included partial privatization and commercialization of the electricity industry. This induced large investments that expanded and improved the efficiency of Chile's electrical distribution system.  These large-scale privatization reforms increased the supply of electricity but also resulted in foreign firms becoming the major share holders of Chile's electrical companies. By the 1990s, 50.6% of Colbun was owned by Tractebel (Belgium), 65% of Enersis was owned by Endesa (Spain) and 98.65% of Gener was owned by AES (USA).[26]

Figure 4. Chill's Economic Growth and Energy Consumption
Source: Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2008. 2008 World Development Indicators Online. Washington,DC: The World Bank & Department of Energy - Energy Information Administration

The economic factor is the key driver of the Baker-Pascua project. The project's supporters claim that in order to continue this economic growth, more electricity is needed, and this hydropower scheme is the best way to get that additional energy. The project's opposition claims that the potential ecological and social damage is not worth the potential economic gain, and that there are other methods of generation.

The supporters of the dams claim that in order for Chileto continue its economic growth, it needs to increase electricity production to provide for the increasing residential uses and to maintain a stable source for commercial use.  As Chile's economic growth is still heavily dependent on copper exports (56% of total exports as of 2007[27]), mining of which is energy intensive, it can be assumed that at least some of this commercial usage will be devoted to the mining industry. Regional development is another reason that some people support this plan.  The Aysén region of Patagonia is the least populous and least developed area of Chile(though it is also the most eco-intact region of Chile).  Supporters wish to develop this area, and the Baker-Pascua project is incorporating regional development into their plan.  Their proposal includes improvement of various infrastructures, job opportunities, education, and even health services.[28]

The opposition is led by a coalition of international and local NGOs, local people, and business people from industries such as tourism and fishing.  Their claim is two-fold. First, they state that Chile could maintain its economic growth without an increase in energy consumption.  Focusing on the fact that the mining industry is the main driver of the increase in electrical consumption, the opposition claims that promoting other industries such as tourism and agriculture will provide enough income to offset the reduction or cap on mining revenues. At present, non-mineral export has been increasing from 30% in 1975 to 60% in 2007.[29]  Chile's wine, produce, and forestry products have all seen increase in global demand.  Also, the tourism industry is growing at a rapid rate of 13.6%.[30]  Chile's vast wilderness and unspoiled nature could be utilized to attract more tourists.  New Zealand's "100 % pure New Zealand" marketing campaign[31]could be emulated to promote both produce and tourism. In addition, mining companies are largely owned by foreign investors, so while they provide jobs, the profits do not remain in Chile. Locally owned businesses, such as tourism or agriculture, could therefore serve as a more sustainable and locally-rooted form of economic growth.

The opposition also argues that if increasing electricity production is inevitable, other methods of generation could be used.  Chile has high potential for non-conventional renewable energy.   In wind-power generation, according to the European Wind Energy Association, Spain has an installed capacity of 11,615 MW, which is close to Chile's total electricity capacity.  Using biogas to generate power, Dr. Felipe Kaiser of Germany's HBS estimates that by 2024, Chilecould generate enough biogas to generate 1,162 MW of electricity. [32] Backed by these studies in March 2008, Chile's government enacted Law 20.257 which mandates that 10% of all energy supplied to Chilebe from non-conventional renewable energy such as solar, geothermal, wind-power or biomass, by 2024.  Based on the analysis of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the gross potential of NCRE (based on the physical availability) in Chile could be anywhere between 130 to 190 MW by 2025. In addition, through promotion of End-Use Energy efficiency methods, energy efficiency can be increased in all sectors (from residential to industrial uses).  A market assessment by the export council for energy efficiency showed that energy use could be lowered by 30% in just the industrial sector just by using energy efficiently (refer to Table 1).  An experiment done in Antofagasta,Chile showed that by replacing just 7,000 lightings the city could save 546 KW, equivalent to 25,000 USD per month.[33]Through a combination of the two initiatives the opposition believes that energy usage can be increased without building additional power plants.

Table 1 Potential for Energy Efficient Industrial Growth  



Potential Savings

Potential Savings
( percent)

Copper mining




Pulp and Paper




Iron and steel mining








Food processing












(Source: "Potencial De Ahorro De Energia Electrica: Gran Industria Y Mineria" Comision Nacional De Energia, 1993)

Aysén's residents are divided on the economic impact that the Baker-Pascua project would have on their region's local economy. Some residents farm cattle and sheep, while others work in ecotourism projects that take vacationers on kayaking, hiking, biking, or fishing trips. Some residents believe that the project would bring jobs and investment to one of Chile's least developed areas, and would be glad to sell their land to the power companies.[34]Others fear that the project would have negative effects on the local economy. The growing ecotourism industry, which now sees 35,000 visitors a year,[35] could suffer greatly from this project. In addition, the reservoirs would flood much of the region's best agricultural and ranching lands.[36]Local communities fear that the new transmission line connecting the dams to the central grid would also lower the cost of future projects in the region, leaving their homes even more vulnerable to future developments.[37]

4.2 Ecology (E)

The significant ecological effects of dams are extensively documented. In the case of the Baker-Pascua project, the areas that would be flooded are home to the endangered huemul deer, as well as other rare animals and forest plants. The Chilean government has "recognized the Pascua [River] for high aquatic biodiversity" and characterized most of the basin as a "biological corridor."[38] Since river ecosystems support more diverse habitats than large lakes, dam construction usually leads to a significant decline in the number of species in the area.[39]Effects will reach downstream, since flows will be reduced. Changed sediment loads often reduce water quality and increase erosion. This "riverbed deepening," in turn, lowers groundwater tables, more broadly affecting the area's ecosystem and harming local vegetation, agriculture, and wells. River ecosystems are highly dependent upon seasonal flow variations, and the dams would drastically alter these flows, potentially destroying ecosystems upstream and downstream, as well as the unique species they harbor.

One thousand six hundred kilometers of the 2,253 km long power line corridor would require clear cutting a 120 meter wide strip through pristine temperate rainforest found nowhere else in the world. The power line would also cut through indigenous communities and damage 14 areas that have protected status under Chilean law due to their "unique environmental values and vulnerabilities."[40]

In addition, one social impact of dams is that creating reservoirs and altering downstream flows displaces people. When adequate resettlement programs are lacking, people are driven onto increasingly marginal land - land that is not well suited to agriculture, and that is often vulnerable to soil loss and erosion, which further degrades water quality and shortens the life of dams by causing sediment to build up behind them. Displacement also feeds back into the issues of species and habitat loss, as people convert more land for agriculture and homes. Indigenous people comprise a large part of the population of southern Chile, and are likely to be particularly vulnerable to such effects.[41]

The companies involved claim that they will take adequate measures to avoid ecological damage. For example, the Environmental Impact Statement for the project promises that the companies will create 25,000 acres of conservation and reforestation area, resettle 14 affected families, and "minimize scenic impacts" near the dams by burying power lines and machinery.[42] Others, such as Dr. Strittholt of the Conservation Biology Institute, argue that "the seasonal dynamics of water flow [are] the primary driver" of the ecology of river systems, and that is no way to prevent the damage that the dams would cause.[43] In addition, mitigation schemes built into past hydropower projects have often proved ineffective.[44] Thus, the ecological aspect of the conflict is largely about whether the measures proposed by the project sponsors are adequate.[45]

4.3 Quantity (Q)

The choice of the Baker and Pascua rivers for the hydro-project was made based on the fact that these rivers still maintain predictable and high flow rates as compared to some of Chile's other rivers.

These characteristics of Pascua and Baker rivers make them ideal candidates for this hydro-project, but also would lead to altering the water flows of these pristine rivers. In order to create these dams, a total of 5,910 hectares of land will be flooded to form artificial lakes. As mentioned in the previous section, this change in distribution of water has direct implications on the ecology (E) of the system. Flooded lands will include some of the rarest forest types and all the flora and fauna (much of which is rare, and some even endangered) within.

Since HidroAysén had to cut down the planned flooded area from 9,300 hectares to 5,910 hectares, they had demanded additional non-consumptive water rights in order to optimize the technical characteristics of the project. The appeal was denied by the National Water Directorate, which could influence the capacity of the project.

4.4 Values (V)

Values also have a huge role in this case, as they will influence the decision-making of the government on the project. Opponents have recently written an open letter to the President of Chile and demanded her to use her "moral authority" to oppose the project.  This appeal sums up the sentiments of the Chilean citizens opposing the project. Some groups see the pristine region as a heritage, while others are opposing the project as it will directly impact their social life. "These include scores of displaced families, disrupted traditional livelihoods such as farming and ranching, spoiled local tourism, and destroyed forests."[46]

4.5 Governance (G)

In an ideal world, mutual gains negotiations could begin by reframing the question: rather than asking whether electricity or ecology is more important, parties could ask how we can both preserve the rivers and the unique ecosystems they support and increase Chile's available electricity. As described above, research suggests that we can do that by using other renewable energy sources to generate electricity. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in collaboration with technical experts in Chile, is currently working on a study to determine Chile's capacity to use Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) and Efficient Use of Electric Energy (EUEE) to meet the country's energy needs without harming the environment. The preliminary research suggests that Chile has significant potential to other sources of power such as geothermal, wind, biomass, solar, and photovoltaic, in combination with more effective conservation measures.[47]

A number of governmental and institutional factors (G), however, hinder the development of such sources of energy, so full realization of NRDC's most ambitious estimates require some level of institutional reform. For example, comprehensive surveys on renewable energy sources are lacking; the country lacks technical human resources, infrastructure, and manufacturing capacity, and the regulatory system does not incentivize investment in alternative energy.[48]Governmental factors further complicate the conflict by fueling protests against the Baker-Pascua project, since Chile's former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, gave Patagonia's water rights to a private energy company that was later purchased by Endesa. It is possible that Endesa is aggressively pursuing this project now out of fears that the Chilean government will follow Bolivia's lead and re-nationalize its natural resources, including water.[49]Cultural (or values - V) issues are also a factor - NRDC claims that consumers as well as the commercial and public sectors do not consider energy efficiency when making decisions.[50]

5 Summary and Key Questions Addressed

NRDC's research is still incomplete, but shows potential to offer innovative ways to address Chile's growing demand for electricity. The proposed project cannot begin just yet - the Environmental Impact Assessment[51] was just completed and must be approved by Chile's National Environmental Commission (CONAMA), and the companies are still working on securing financing. Thus, before a final decision is made to go forward with a project that will have grave and irreversible impacts, stakeholders should work with NRDC and their partners to other, more sustainable ways to support Chile's economic development.

We present some recommendations (Figure 5) for improving the governance system so that the issue of rising energy needs in Chile can be addressed in a more inclusive and collective manner[52]:

  • Incentivize sustainable energy development
  • Invest in energy efficiency measures
  • Include all relevant stakeholders while negotiating on such projects
  • Conduct socio-economic impact studies of large dam projects
  • *Create and supervise agencies to monitor river flow rates and seasonal variations thereof
  • *Proactively provide access and means for livelihood of communities displaced in such projects
  • Create transparent information-sharing and decision-making mechanisms

Figure 5. Recommendations


[1] Kerosky, Sara, "Baker River Water Level Reaches Low Levels," Patagonia Times, August 24, 2007, available at, accessed October 20, 2008. Estimates abound as to this flow level, and it is unclear which is most accurate. For example, a later article in the same publication puts the Baker River's "normal" flow at 573 m3/s (Santiago Times Staff, "Southern Chile Glacial Lake Disappears (Again)," October 13, 2008, Patagonia Times, available at, accessed October 20, 2008), and several other sources put it at 1,500 m3/s (see for example Patagonia Adventure Expeditions,, accessed October 20, 2008).

[2] Strittholt, J.R. 2008. Potential ecological impacts from proposed hydroelectric projects on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in the Aisen Region of Patagonia, Chile. A special report by the Conservation Biology Institute (

[3] Moss, Chris, "Patagonia in Peril," UK Guardian, March 14, 2008.

[4] Strittholt, J.R. 2008. Potential ecological impacts from proposed hydroelectric projects on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in the Aisen Region of Patagonia, Chile. A special report by the Conservation Biology Institute (

[5] Barcott, Bruce, "Big, Bad Hydro," Forbes Magazine," June 19, 2008.

[6] World Bank, Key Development Data Statistics,,,contentMDK:20535285~menuPK:1390200~pagePK:64133150~piPK:64133175~theSitePK:239419,00.html, accessed December 17, 2008.

[7] Central Bank of Chile, "The Chilean Economy at a glance,", accessed December 17, 2008.

[8] Universidad de Chile and Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. 2008. Energías Renovables No Convencionales y Eficiencia Energética a la Matriz Eléctrica, 2008-2025 ("Estimating the Potential Contribution Unconventional Renewable Energy and Efficient Use of Electricity In the period 2008- 2025").

[9] EcoAmé, "EIS Filed For Five-Dam Hydro Project in Chile," September, 2008, available at,accessed December 17, 2008.

[10] Strittholt, J.R. 2008. Potential ecological impacts from proposed hydroelectric projects on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in the Aisen Region of Patagonia, Chile. A special report by the Conservation Biology Institute (

[11] Natural Resources Defense Council, "Stop Electrocuting Patagonia: NRDC's Campaign to Protect Chile's Wild Places," November, 2007, available at, accessed October 20, 2008.

[12] HidroAysén, "Frequent Questions,", accessed October 17, 2008.

[13] HidroAysén, "Frequent Questions,", accessed December 7, 2008.

[14] HidroAysén, "Benefits for Aysen,", accessedDecember7, 2008.

[15] Endesa Chile, "Profile, 2006,), accessed October 17, 2008; Colbún, "Nuestro Negocio,", accessed October 17, 2008.

[16] Moss, Chris, "Patagonia in Peril," The Guardian, March 14, 2008.

[17] Editorial, "Patagonia Without Dams," New York Times, April 1, 2008, available at, accessed October 20, 2008.

[18] The Patagonia Times, "CHILE: HIDROAYSEN TO SUBMIT ENVIRO STUDY IN MARCH",, accessed December 7, 2008


[20] Kevin Smith, "Profiteering from Carbon Trading," Chinadialogue (Sept. 19, 2007) 

[21] Patrick O'Connor, "Climate change, Kyoto, and carbon trading," World Socialist Website (Nov. 7, 2007)

[22] Cullenward, Danny, and David G. Victor, "The Dam Debate and Its Discontents," Climatic Change, 75(1-2): 81-86, March 2006, at 84.

[23] Barry P. Bosworth, Raul Laban and Rudiger Dornbusch, "The Chilean Economy Policy Lessons and Challenges," Brookings Institute Press (1994).

[24], accessed December 11, 2008.

[25], accessed December 11, 2008.

[26] Michael Pollitt, "Electricity Reform in Chile, Lessons for Developing Countries (Working Paper)," University of Cambridge (2005).

[27], accessed December 17, 2008.

[28], Benefits for Aysen (accessed Dec. 11, 2008)

[29], Foreign Trade (accessed Dec. 11, 2008)

[30] (accessed Dec. 17, 2008)

[31] (accessed Dec. 17, 2008)

[32] Benjamin Witte, "CHILEAN ENERGY EXPERTS URGE INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES," The Patigonia Times (April 14, 2008)

[33], accessed December 17, 2008.

[34] Barraclough, Colin, "Chile Plans to Dam Patagonia Wilderness," Chronicle Foreign Service, April 7, 2008.

[35] Barraclough, Colin, "Chile Plans to Dam Patagonia Wilderness," Chronicle Foreign Service, April 7, 2008.

[36] International Rivers, "Basic Facts: Baker & Pascua Rivers, Proposed Dams and Transmission Lines,", accessed December 17, 2008.

[37] Barraclough, Colin, "Chile Plans to Dam Patagonia Wilderness," Chronicle Foreign Service, April 7, 2008.

[38] International Rivers, "Basic Facts: Baker & Pascua Rivers, Proposed Dams and Transmission Lines,", accessed October 20, 2008.

[39] Bardach, J.H. and B. Dussart, "Effects of Man-Made Lakes on Ecosystems," in Man-Made Lakes: Their Problems and Environmental Effects, Ackermann, W.C., ed., American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., at 811-817.

[40] Id.

[41] Personal communication, Bill Moomaw, class discussion during Elements of International Environmental Policy, Fletcher School, October 22, 2008.

[42] EcoAmé, "EIS Filed For Five-Dam Hydro Project in Chile," September, 2008, available at

[43] Strittholt, J.R. 2008. Potential ecological impacts from proposed hydroelectric projects on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in the Aisen Region of Patagonia, Chile. A special report by the Conservation Biology Institute (

[44] For example, the Pak Mun dam in Thailandincluded a fish ladder to appease local communities who were concerned about the effect that the dam would have on their fishing-based economy and food supply. The fish ladder, however, proved largely ineffective. Fish populations plummeted, and the government eventually gave in to protestors' demands that the dam be kept open for several months each year to allow for fishing.

[45] Hydropower is seen by many as a clean, green source of energy; however new studies seem to suggest that dams may not just create a sink but they also produce a new source of greenhouse gases. (See appendix 1 for more information).

[46] Aaron Sanger, "Damming Patagonia's rivers: a dirty energy business," accessed on December 17, 2008 from

[47] Universidad de Chile and Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. 2008. Energías Renovables No Convencionales y Eficiencia Energética a la Matriz Eléctrica, 2008-2025 ("Estimating the Potential Contribution Unconventional Renewable Energy and Efficient Use of Electricity In the period 2008- 2025").

[48] Id. at 16.

[49] Barcott, Bruce, "Big, Bad Hydro," Forbes Magazine, June 19, 2008.

[50] _Id._at 16-17.

[51] The Patagonia Times "HidroAysen wants nine months to respond to criticisms, accessed on December 18, 2008 from

The Environmental Impact Assessment has come under tremendous scrutiny and criticism, resulting in HidroAysén officially requesting a nine-month suspension of the assessment process. Several government agencies have recommended that the EIS should have been rejected as it lacks data and does not meet the environmental standards.

[52] Some of these recommendations are based on the seven strategic priorities found in Chapter 8 (Strategic Priorities  - A New Policy Framework for the Development of Water and Energy Resources) of "The Report of the World Commission on Dams," November 16, 2000, accessed from

Editor: Yongxuan Gao