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By: Aldo Leporati
Argentina's government approved the construction of 2 hydroelectric dams in the southern Patagonia region by means of a joint resolution of the Ministries of Energy and Mining, and Environment and Sustainable Development, which also provide for the adoption of the recommendations of the environmental impact report after holding public hearings as required by the Supreme Court.
The dams in Santa Cruz province will be constructed by China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd, which holds a majority stake in the project, and Argentina's Electroingeniera SA. The companies won an auction to build the dams in 2013. But President Mauricio Macri will put the project on hold pending an evaluation of the cost and environmental impact after taking office in December 2015. Together, the dams will represent 1,310 megawatts of hydroelectric capacity and produces an average of 5,171 gigawatt hours of renewal energy, around 5% of the country's total electricity demand.
The brake on the Santa Cruz complex generated discomfort in the Chinese authorities who had already contributed us$ 800 millions out of a total of us$ 4.7 billions and did not observe results or progress in construction. The Asian authorities informed Macri of this displeasure on the tour last May, when they left on standby the possibility of approving credits for more than us$ 20,000 million for infrastructure works. President Mauricio Macri put the project on hold pending an evaluation of the cost and environmental impact after taking office in December 2015.
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