Study: Dams will damage Peru's environment

Dec. 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM
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LIMA, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Environmentalists say construction of five hydroelectric dams in Peru as part of an energy agreement with Brazil will damage the environment.

A study by ProNaturaleza, a conservation organization in Peru, said almost 3.7 million acres of jungle would be destroyed over the next 20 years, Inter Press Service reported Monday.

The proposals include the Inambari dam, to be built in the Amazon rainforest in southeastern Peru. It will be the largest in Peru and the fifth largest in Latin America.

"There will be a serious impact on the Amazon ecosystems," engineer Jose Serra, who prepared the report for ProNaturaleza, said.

Before signing the agreement with Brazil, the Peruvian government should have commissioned an environmental impact study to assess the damages, Ernesto Raez, a biologist with the Cayetano Heredia University's Center for Environmental Sustainability, told IPS.

Energy experts say Peru does not need to tap Amazon jungle resources to meet domestic demand for electricity, as the country's installed capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts is sufficient to cover current needs.

Future demand, projected to grow to 12,000 megawatts by 2020, can easily be covered by the wind energy potential of the country's Andean highlands and coastal regions, they say.

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