After an extensive round of preliminary studies, Brazilian energy company Odebrecht has withdrawn its bid to develop the massive Tambo-40 dam in Peru. In an official statement, the company explained its decision to ‘respect the opinion of the local population’ and reverse its commitment to the project.
The proposed dam has come under heavy scrutiny by human rights activists and indigenous populations, who claim the project will displace more than 14,000 members of the local community. The proposal involves submerging 22,000 hectares of forest and would bring infrastructure developments into the heavily protected Ashaninka Communal Reserve. The dam would produce about 1,200 MW of power.
The Peruvian government has recently pursued plans to build several hydroelectric dams in order to fulfill an agreement to supply 6000 MW of power to neighboring Brazil. Construction of the dams largely falls within the Peruvian Amazon, however, one of the world’s most biologically diverse natural reserves.
The Ashaninka population is now pursing the other major developer of the Peruvian hydroelectric projects, the Brazilian electric utility Eletrobrás, in an effort to halt further construction. Another developer loss would severely hinder efforts by President Ollanta Humala, who has recommitted Peru to meeting energy exports outlined in a 2010 contract with Brazil.