In contrast to our findings of BRI hydroelectric power projects in Bolivia, in Ecuador, we observe fewer problematic environmental impacts in the majority of Chinese projects, with several accompanied by substantial local community development initiatives.
Some projects have experienced construction delays, with two of the largest activities also subjected to rampant corruption. Negotiations have occurred primarily at the national level, resulting in a more cohesive energy development strategy overall. However, corruption by the former Correa administration impacted project progress and quality.
This Tearline article from the College of William & Mary’s geoLab discusses findings from a project which utilizes open-source data collection and imagery analysis to study the impacts of Chinese development financing in Latin America and the Caribbean. The article examines evidence of eight hydroelectric power projects and/or dams in Ecuador in order to gain an understanding of Chinese actions and hypothesize Chinese intentions in the region. Satellite imagery shows that five of the projects have been completed. However, for the other three projects, our analysis indicates that construction has been paused for a significant amount of time. These indefinite delays are partially due to corruption in the Ecuadorian government and the projects themselves. Our assessment of the conditions of these BRI projects is based primarily on government data, then verified by imagery analysis and other open-source material due to the Ecuadorian national government’s direct involvement in four of the projects.