Chiloé wind power project in Mapuche territory, Chile

Indigenous and rural communities of Chiloé claiming proper consultation and implementation of a wind power project in their territory


Description
Since 2010, the Chilean-Swedish company Ecopower has attempted to install the Chiloé Wind Power Project in the Ancud commune, Chiloé archipelago. The project encompasses 42 windmills with a total installed capacity of 100.8 MW, expecting to operate during 25 years to supply electricity to the Interconnected Central System of Chile. The project is to be deployed throughout 1,000 ha of the Quilo-Mar Brava area, affecting approximately 5,000 people, including Huilliches groups, which are part of the Mapuche people. Local inhabitants of the region depend on agriculture, livestock, artisanal fishing and tourism (rural and eco tourism). Opposing voices of the archipelago state that the increasing arrival of large-scale wind power projects such as the Chiloé Wind Power Project would create social migrations and uncertain changes in the region. For example, the Mar Brava beach concentrates artisanal fishing zones, upon which more than 150 families depend. They claim that the project construction would remove the sands changing water courses, affecting the quality certifications that support the commercialization of their products. As happens with fishing, the rest of the economic activities are strongly attached to the local environment. Therefore, the Chiloé project is seen as a threat that would break local economies while creating no alternatives for communities: it only expects to create 220 jobs during the construction phase and 11 permanent jobs during the operational phase. Regarding land uses, Ecopower proposed leasing contracts to people with land titles. However the rest of the population would not see any benefit from such contracts. Furthermore, the area encompasses lands historically reclaimed by indigenous communities that still lack of legal protection against the expansion of these types of projects. Other impacts have to do with the natural and cultural patrimony of Chiloé. There is evidence of at least 16 archeological sites located inside the area of the Project, including Sitio Puente de Quilo I. There is also the Islotes de Puñihuil Natural Monument, that host native protected fauna (Humboldt and Magallanes Penguins) as well as local and migratory birds (acknowledge by Birdlife International and the Chilean Ornitology Community). In a first moment, Ecopower made an Environmental Impact Declaration stating that the project would be installed in an inhabited region, while omitting the existence of protected areas that would be directly affected by substations and the port involved in the project. Local communities then presented three different appeals that where rejected in 2011 when the Regional Government approved the company proposal. One year later, community demands were accepted in the Supreme Court of Santiago, revoking the project and indicating the need to make an Environmental Impact Assessment following the required consultations to indigenous communities under the 169 ILO Convention. The Environmental Impact Assessment was twice corrected in order to include all the infrastructure facilities and impacts, as well as a re-location of the infrastructure facilities. Despite this resolution, local participation for territorial planning and consultation linked to this project have been poorly implemented by the regional government and the private company. Opposing voices claimed that many local inhabitants still don’t know which would be the impacts of the Project. This has created internal division among communities: there are some leaders that have negotiated compensations with the company (supported by a local ONG called Corporación Canelo de Nos), while other communities have decided not to negotiate, refusing compensation and arguing the existence of spiritual, landscape, cultural, archeological, ecological and economic values in the area. In this context, the Council of Williche Communities in Chiloé declared that indigenous leaders and representatives against the Project have suffered harassment and intimidation to negotiate and support the project. This has happened particularly to indigenous women leaders (see El Desconcierto: declaration). Despite such irregularities, the regional government finally approved the project. Representatives of a local ONG (Centro de Estudio y Conservación del Patrimonio Natural-CECPAN) stated that the resolution is going to trigger the arrival of more wind power projects for energy that will not be destined for local consumption. At the same time, the growing number of mining concessions in Chiloé along with the expansion of other energy projects (including wind, thermal and hydropower) is generating a devastating scenario for the territory. Representatives of the Salvemos Mar Brava Movement have declared they are not against wind power but against the location of the project and the uneven benefits deriving from it. Latest news on this case (February 2016) indicates that fishermen syndicates and indigenous communities made two appeals to the Puerto Montt Appeal Court against the positive resolution for the project. They claimed the Environmental Assesment Service (EAS) did not take into account their observations while there was a clear irregularity in the process of consultation for indigenous communities (According to the ILO 169 Convention and the Supreme Court Resolution). On its turn, the company, the EAS and four communities supporting the project alleged that the communities which where not consulted are too distant geographically from the project. A conflict between what is understood as “territory” is at the core of this conflict. 
Basic Data
NameChiloé wind power project in Mapuche territory, Chile
CountryChile
ProvinceChiloé archipielago, Acnud commune
SiteLos Rios region
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Windmills
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
42 windmills with 2.4 MW of power each one.
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)1,000
Level of Investment (in USD)250,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population5,000
Start Date01/01/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesEcopower from Chile - Developer
Relevant government actorsCorte Suprema de Santiago

Corte de Apelaciones de Puerto Montt

Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersConsejo de Comunidades Williches del Archipiélago de Chiloé

CECPAN Centro de Estudio y Conservación del Patrimonio Natural

Centro de Conservación Cetácea

Asociación Indígena Wiñoi Newen

Comunidad Williche de Aucaco

Comunidad Williche de Quilo

Comunidad Histórica Autónoma de Weketrumao

Junta de Vecinos de Calle

Área de Manejo Mar Brava

Eco Turismo Puñihuil

Agrupación Cultural El Rodezno

Movimiento de Defensa del Borde Costero, el Agua y la Vida de Ancud

Pensar Chiloé

Consejo de Defensa del Archipiélago de Chiloé
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Fishermen
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Mapuche communities
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Refusal of compensation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherDamage to coastal areas
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Local organization managed to adjourn the Project twice in order to have a new EIA and consultation processes. However there are still some Mapuche communities against the implementation of the Project: they were not consulted and they do not want to negotiate with Ecopower. Recent news indicate that judicial activism by these communities is ongoing.
Sources and Materials
Links

Ecopower web page with information from radio pudeto. Preocupación de comunidad huilliche por intervención de conchales Mar Brava
[click to view]

Mapuexpress, Colectivo de comunicación mapuche: Amplio rechazo tras aprobación ambiental de Parque Eólico Chiloé,
[click to view]

Fütawilliamapu: epacio Mapuche Williche en Internet: La oposición Mapuche Williche al proyecto Parque Eólico Chiloé,
[click to view]

Comunicado sobre los alegatos de los recursos de protección presentados ante la corte de apelaciones En contra del servicio de evaluación ambiental y el proyecto parque eólico Chiloé.
[click to view]

Expansion energética en chiloe. Expansión energética en Chiloé 21 de March, 2016.
[click to view]

Estudio de Impacto Ambiental. "PARQUE EOLICO CHILOE". ECOPOWER S.A.C
[click to view]

Como No debe desarrollarse un proyecto energético sustentable: Parque Eólico Chiloé
por Jaime Velásquez C. (Chiloé, Chile). Publicado el 17 agosto, 2014. Piensa Chile Blog.
[click to view]

Media Links

Ecopower-Parque eólico chiloé
[click to view]

Other Documents

Local communities denouncing the project implementation http://www.eldesconcierto.cl/vida-sustentable/2014/08/12/organizaciones-en-oposicion-proyecto-parque-eolico-chiloe-denuncian-persecucion-y-amedrentamiento-comunidades-indigenas/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSofía Ávila-Calero
Last update15/04/2016
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