Neltume hydroelectric project in Panguipulli, Chile


The provision of electricity in Chile is heavily dependent on foreign countries, particularly Argentina. Recently, important restrictions on natural gas exports from its neighbour together with an increase of domestic consumption has led the Chilean government to promote unconventional renewable energy (energía renovable no convencional - ERNC).

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Basic Data
NameNeltume hydroelectric project in Panguipulli, Chile
ProvinceLos Rios region, Valdivia
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsPlant potential: 490 MW

Average annual power generation: 1.885 GWh

El proyecto contempla la construcción de una bocatoma para captar las aguas del río Fuy, destinada a captar un caudal máximo de 140 m3/s, a aproximadamente 980 m. aguas abajo del nacimiento del río Fuy, las que luego serían conducidas mediante una obra de aducción subterránea, de aproximadamente 10 kilómetros de longitud, hasta la caverna de máquinas, la que sería también subterránea [1].

The energy produced by the plant will be directed to the Central Energy Grid (Interconectado Central).
Level of Investment (in USD)781,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Company Names or State EnterprisesEndesa Chile from Chile
Sn Power from Norway
ENEL Group (Enel) from Italy
Relevant government actorsCOREMA
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComunidades Mapuche, Koz-koz Parliament, Re:Common, Fondazione Banca Etica, Rete STOP-ENEL, Corporación de Desarrollo Indígena (Conadi), Frente Ambientalista de Panguipulli (FAP)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Italian NOGs and a foundation have participated for some years in the General Assembly of shareholders of ENEL, in order to denounce the impacts and push for a change in the company's energy strategy.
Local communities have also had "mesas de dialogo" with the company.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
OtherAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesThe local communities question the alleged need of energy of the country. They denounce the "terror politics" implied by the company in term of energy emergency and the need to generate more.

They call for a "Consulta previa, libre, informada y de buena fé".

They also want to have the area suited for tourism activities and bring revenues for the local people.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The population has mobilized and strengthened cooperation with national and international NGOs. Still, the project is still under negotiation and the government and company have not changed any plan.
Sources and Materials

ILO Convention 169
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Reglamento SEIA y nuevas negociaciones a respecto
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Defending Territory, Demanding Participation Mapuche Struggles in Chile, Diane Haughney
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LOS PAISAJES DEL AGUA: NATURALEZA E IDENTIDAD EN LA CUENCA DEL RÍO VALDIVIA - Revista de Antropología Chilena Volumen 44, Nº 2, 2012. Páginas 299-312
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Chile: Hydroelectric projects threaten sacred Mapuche sites
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Los Ríos: dirigentes mapuche aseguran que Endesa busca lavarse las manos con llamado a diálogo
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Rete Stop ENEL, in Italian
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Mapuches de Panguipulli exigen otro Estudio Ambiental a ENDESA para garantizar Consulta Indígena
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On repression against Mapuche communities (in Spanish)
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Trafún, comuna de Panguipulli: Menor herido por perdigón de carabineros (in Spanish)
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Demanda colectiva del Pueblo Mapuche al Estado chileno: Reparación de territorios y Aguas
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Marcha por el Agua, 2014 in Santiago del Chile
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Links to various articles and materials at the bottom: "Por conflicto Endesa: Emplazan al Estado Español a respetar Derechos Indígenas en América Latina"
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[1] Mapas de conflictos en Chile
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Mapa de Conflictos hidroelectricos en Chile
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[2] Opositores a Neltume se manifiestan en junta de Endesa Enel en Italia
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Media Links

Central Neltume ¿un nuevo Ralco?
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Alcalde de Panguipulli, Alejandro Koehler presentó recurso de protección
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Cancion rap en favor de la campanya contra la represa "Patagonia sin represas, Panguipulli"
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Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 2
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Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 3
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Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 1
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Message form Jorge Weke to Italian activists during the joint actions against ENEL's projects in the region Los Rios
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Other Documents

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Other CommentsThe plant in Panguipulli requires the construction of a transmission line (Línea de alta tensión Neltume-Pullinque), which has also generated conflicts. The INDH map reports about that [1].
Meta Information
ContributorDaniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB
Last update20/05/2014