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Chile HidroAysen project viable, boss says, rebutting Bachelet
June 24, 2013 / 5:32 PM / 4 years ago

Chile HidroAysen project viable, boss says, rebutting Bachelet

SANTIAGO, June 24 (Reuters) - Chile's controversial
HidroAysen hydropower project is feasible if a planned public
transmission line materializes, its boss said on Monday,
rebutting presidential favorite Michelle Bachelet's statement a
day earlier that the complex isn't viable. 
    Bachelet, a popular center-leftist who was president of
Chile, the world's top copper-exporting nation, from 2006 to
2010, is widely expected to win the November presidential
election against a weakened right-wing bloc. 
    Some see her opposition to the project as potentially
spelling its death sentence. 
    HidroAysen is currently being reviewed by a special
ministerial group. Many analysts say the project, a political
hot potato that has triggered massive protests, is likely to
remain in limbo until after the election. 
    "It's easy to say no to a project, the point is what is your
proposal and so far I haven't seen any put forth by the
candidates," Daniel Fernandez, the project's executive vice
president, told foreign reporters during a briefing.
    The project "requires a political agreement that promotes a
transmission line for all projects, and in that sense HidroAysen
would be viable," he added. 
    Opponents slam HidroAysen on the grounds it would harm
pristine Patagonia's rivers and hurt tourism. 
    HidroAysen, planned deep in spindly Chile's south, requires
transmission lines to channel power to Santiago, the country's
   HidroAysen, whose generating units alone were initially seen
costing $3.2 billion, will now require around $8 billion in
investment, considering the transmission line, Fernandez said.  
    Bachelet's position will likely ruffle miners, who are
counting on the joint venture between leading generator Endesa
Chile and partner Colbun as a key source of
future energy supply in Chile. 
    Many in economically stratified Chile feel they have not
benefited from the Andean country's copper boom. Massive power
projects, in part destined to satiate energy-intensive mines,
have triggered growing opposition.

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