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The Brazilian government is moving ahead "at any cost" with plans to build the third-largest dam in the world and one of the Amazon's most controversial development projects – the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River in the state of Pará. The Belo Monte dam complex dates back to Brazil's military dictatorship and the government has attempted to build it through various series of national investment programs including Brasil em Ação and the Program to Accelerate Growth. The original plans have been greenwashed through multiple public relations programs over the course of two decades in the face of massive international and national protest.
Energy Inefficiency and Future Upstream Dams
Belo Monte will be one of the most energy inefficient dams in the history of Brazil. It will produce only 10% of its 11,233 MW installed capacity during the 3-5 month-long dry season, an average of only 4,462 MW throughout the year, or 39% of its nominal capacity. To guarantee a year-round flow of water, the government would need to construct a series of large dams on the Xingu and its tributaries that will gravely impact forests and forest peoples.
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