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A watershed moment: The outlook for development of large scale hydroelectric facilities in Latin America

A watershed moment: The outlook for development of large scale hydroelectric facilities in Latin America

As power demand across Latin America continues to surge, so too does the region's requirement for extra power generation capacity. However, companies seeking to fill the region's energy needs through the development of hydroelectric power projects - the traditional baseload capacity option for many regional countries - are finding the development process increasingly littered with obstacles. Social and environmental pressures are placing large scale dam projects under ever intensifying levels of scrutiny. Meanwhile, changing technologies and climatic patterns are undermining the efficiencies of scale that large hydros once enjoyed. Developers and regulators are now being forced to recognize the need to change projects and cooperate with new stakeholders to ensure that large scale hydros remain the preponderant generation source across the region.


Focusing on emerging trends and forecasted prospects, the Intelligence Series works to identify opportunities for our clients in six leading sectors for Latin America. From an annual Industry Outlook to regular surveys of industry players to forecasts in each sector, as well as country and topical focuses, this product delves into the challenges faced and solutions developed in business practices for the region. It's real, actionable intelligence.

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Dominant source
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the region as a whole possesses some 30% of the world?s fresh water resources[1]. As a result of this supply abundance, hydro has played a more important role in the energy development of Latin America than in other parts of the world.

Emerging Opposition
In spite of the region’s impressive track record with hydro development, the pace of construction has shown signs of slowing down. Large scale projects of over 200MW in installed capacity, previously the cornerstones of the regional energy matrix, have seen development timetables pushed back due to civil conflicts and legal challenges.

Drought and alternatives
The vulnerability of hydro-heavy power grids to drought has been a prominent feature in energy news across the region over recent years. Countries from Venezuela to Chile have been forced to take measures to reduce power consumption due to a perceived over dependence on hydro facilities of all types.

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