For the first time since the end of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s lengthy military dictatorship (1973-1990), Chilean voters have turned to the right, electing billionaire Sebastian Pinera in a tight Jan. 17 runoff against former President Eduardo Frei (1994-2000) of the governing Concertacion coalition.
Archive for January, 2010
For all their differences, Brazil and its Southern Cone neighbors share a common challenge as they struggle to balance rising energy demand against resource constraints and environmental concerns. Wind and other renewable-energy sources may well be part of the solution, but so far investment in green technologies has been cautious at best.
In size, composition, and structure, the countries’ electricity sectors vary tremendously. Brazil, the largest country in the region, boasts what is by far the most extensive power grid, with installed capacity of roughly 100,000 megawatts (MW)–more than twice the electricity available in nearby Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile combined. The “sleeping giant” derives much of that electricity (approximately 80%) from large-scale hydroelectric dams but also generates a modest amount of power (roughly 2,000 MW) from a pair of nuclear plants.
Chile’s Dec. 13 presidential election was at once historical and predictable, as opposition leader Sebastian Pinera, a front-runner throughout the campaign, finished well ahead of his three leftist rivals to become the first conservative winner in more than half a century.