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REGIONAL REPORTSOUTH AMERICA


Social unrest hampers progress


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for talks to resolve social unrest in Ecuador in the wake of thousands of injuries to both protesters and security forces. At least nine people are reported to have died during a wave of demonstrations during October 2019, for example, and thousands of people were detained. Simon Mackenzie, chairman of Asonave, said the country has been working on hydropower generation


for the last few years. In addition: “The development of Guayaquil port by DP World will require gantry cranes and other equipment. But a project to increase oil refining capacity with a greenfield plant north of Guayaquil has been plagued with delays and indecision. The plan is there but it has not advanced beyond construction of the foundations.” Ecuador is suffering from a fiscal deficit and high


foreign debt. It has declared its intention to leave the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2020, in order to generate additional income from its oil exports, which have been limited by OPEC- imposed output quotas. On the other side of Colombia, Venezuela has


seen a boost in its oil output of late but its citizens are continuing to emigrate amid an escalating political and economic – not to say humanitarian – crisis over the last few years. There were demonstrations both for and against


During 2019, oversized components of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) were transported to Cerro


Pachón, Chile, for the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) observatory.


construction of its new 382 MW Campos del Sol solar farm in the Atacama region last August – the largest such facility currently being built in Chile, and slated to start operations by the end of 2020. The Cerro Dominador combined


photovoltaic and thermo-solar project in the Atacama Desert, on the other hand, is nearing completion. This plant will allow solar energy to be stored so that it can generate electricity at any time, not just when the sun is shining. The thermo-solar section –which uses thousands of rotating mirrors (heliostats), a heat storage system and turbines – is set to begin operating in


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early 2020, giving the site a combined total capacity of 210 MW. There are also numerous hydroelectric projects across Chile, mostly based on the


In Chile, projects at the moment are very limited by the increasing demand for accountability, especially with regard to the environment. – Simon Mackenzie, Asonave


President Nicolás Maduro’s government in November, with interim President Juan Guaidó struggling to force President Maduro out of office. Reports suggest Venezuelans are hoping that popular pressure might push Maduro to leave his position – and perhaps the country – as occurred with President Morales in Bolivia. Colombia, meanwhile, is preparing for some


USD1.8 billion of investment in its wind energy sector following auctions held in October 2019.


use of small generators that require a turbine but not the construction of a dam.


Wind turbines The transportation of wind turbines, meanwhile – mostly from China – is becoming fairly run of the mill, Mackenzie said, with power from this source of energy gradually increasing in Chile. Conventional power generation is also


still in the mix but Chile’s government is aiming to obtain 70 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2050. As for mining in Chile, a new phase is under way to continue developing the open


January/February 2020 67


LSST Project/NSF/AURA


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