February 11, 2009
The consortium, led by France's Suez, began construction on the project last November. The $5.3 billion dam will generate 3.3 gigawatts (GW) of power when it becomes operational in 2016. The Madeira hydroelectric complex also includes the 3.15 GW San Antonio dam, which is scheduled to go online in 2012 and will cost $5 billion.
The project has been fiercely contested by environmentalists who say it will impede migration of fish species, flood more than 200 square miles (520 sq km) of rainforest triggering greenhouse gas emissions from rotting vegetation, and promote colonization in the ecologically-sensitive area.
The Madeira is the longest tributary of the Amazon River.
$11B Amazon rainforest dam gets initial approval July 10, 2007
The Brazilian government has given preliminary go-ahead on a massive Amazon dam project that environmentalists and scientists say could be a potential ecological disaster.