Controversial Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam in Brazil’s Amazon Gets Go-Ahead

by , 06/01/11

Belo monte dam, hydroelectric power, belo monte dam controversy, hydro electric power, dam three gorges, alternative energy, brazil alternative energy

The Belo Monte Dam is one of the most controversial projects in the world. The $17 billion hydro-electric dam will, when constructed, generate enough energy for over 23 million homes. However, its creation will see the flooding of huge portions of the Amazon basin, displacing indigenous tribes and putting 500 sq km of rainforest underwater. The project has been met with fierce resistance over the past few years, but this week Brazil’s environmental agency backed its construction, crushing the hopes of  indigenous groups and environmentalists.

Belo monte dam, hydroelectric power, belo monte dam controversy, hydro electric power, dam three gorges, alternative energy, brazil alternative energy

Infographic by Random Fallen Blossom

The agency, Ibama, said the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River had been subjected to “robust analysis” of its impact on the environment. The government concucred saying that the dam was vital to meet the country’s ever-growing energy needs. Ibama also issued the penultimate licence that the Norte Energia consortium, the group behind the project, needs to build the dam.

Construction work is expected to begin in January and will see the displacement of tens of thousands of local tribes people. It is expected that the dam’s construction will intensify clashes between the indigenous rainforest communities and the government.

The 11,000-megawatt dam will be the third biggest in the world after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu. Despite being planned 30 years ago, it has taken a long time to get the green light. Critics of the 6km (3.7-mile) dam believe as well as making 50,000 people homeless, 500 sq km (190 sq miles) of land will be flooded.

+ The Belo Monte Dam

via BBC News

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  1. Minwoo Kim July 3, 2015 at 2:35 am

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  2. Energysaroundu August 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    “In a very eerie sense, the entire electrical power industry (as approved by the scientific community) worldwide is a giant though unintentional scam, at least since 1957 and the discovery and experimental proof of broken symmetry.” – Tom Bearden, Ph.D.

  3. Marko June 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

    idirex – the question here is another nuclear vs coal vs hydroelectric plant. People in Brazil/China need electricity same as you do – why do you want to deny them this right!?

  4. lazyreader June 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I’ve read somewhere that it is the silt deposits that help replenish Shanghai. With the silt and sediments backed behind the dam, the city will suffer from erosion and sink like Venice. The city rests on a massive sedimentary plain. The “arriving silt—so long as it does arrive—strengthens the bed on which Shanghai is built. Since sediment deposits at low areas naturally, the deposits are responsible for land building. 80 percent of the area is experiencing erosion. The lack of silt deposited in the peninsula could result in erosion and sinking of coastal areas.

  5. idirex June 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    the problem here is the flood that will be caused by the dam . Those are delicate ecosystems . They have the right to develop but this seems a bit too costly ( economically and environmentally )

  6. idirex June 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    the problem here is the flooded area and the delicate ecosystem. ambient vs development , what do you choose ?

  7. Marko June 5, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Sediment behind the dam is only bad for storage, but it does not prevent the operation of the electric generators. I.e. even if the lake behind the dam gets completely full of sediment, the plant will still be able to produce maximum electricity when fed with running water!

  8. lazyreader June 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

    For someone who called electricity the opiate of the masses. You seem to have swung full circle. China’s Three Gorges will be useless in just a few decades anyway, the silt deposits are vast that sedimentation projections are not agreed upon, and the other is that the dam sits on a seismic fault. At current levels, 80% of the land in the area is experiencing erosion, depositing about 40 million tons of sediment into the Yangtze annually. And arguments abound that the dam was built poorly. The Amazon deposits more sediments than any river in the world so much so the waters turn the ocean nearby brown.

  9. caeman June 2, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I love hydroelectric. It is clean and constantly renews itself. But I have to wonder if the that river water is too silty for a dam. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make scrambled eggs. In this case, some people will need to move so that the country as a whole can progress forward without the dangers of nuclear.

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