Environmental impact of hydropower developments in the Amazon

Brazil has been facing criticism from international institutions and non-profit organisations regarding the environmental and social impacts of the implementation of hydropower projects in the Amazon. Concern mainly arises in relation to the country's supposed non-compliance with International Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, issued by the International Labour Organisation and ratified by over 20 countries. As a result, Brazil is at risk of jeopardising its long-term energy plan.

The country has a large renewable energy sector, with over 47% of its overall energy originating from renewable sources. In order to support the economic growth expected over the coming years - driven by several infrastructure projects and events, such as the World Cup and Olympic Games - a large number of new hydropower plants are expected to be installed in the next 30 years. However, 70% of the non-explored hydropower potential (an estimated 174,000 megawatts) is located in environmentally sensitive areas, mainly in the Amazon and the Brazilian savannah.

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