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Flip-flop rulings have left the fate of the controversial HidroAysén venture, a multibillion-dollar dam scheme slated for southern Chile's Patagonia region, very much up in the air. The recent roller-coaster events have made one thing clear: in Chile, energy matters--once the exclusive domain of private utilities companies--are now becoming everyone's business. The project's developers, Spanish-Italian electricity giant Endesa and Colbún, a Chilean utility, have been pushing for the past five years to build a network of hydroelectric plants along the Río Baker and Río Pascua, a pair of powerful rivers that flow through Chile's far southern Aysén Region. HidroAysén, as the joint venture is called, promises the five dams will have an installed generating capacity of 2,750 megawatts, equivalent to roughly 17% of the country's current grid capacity. HidroAysén and its backers claim Chile desperately needs that electricity to continue its march toward "first-world" status. The country's current installed electricity capacity is roughly 15,700 MW. Analysts say that, by the end of the decade, Chile will have to double its grid capacity to keep up with steady economic growth.