Data is moving faster in South America after Google successfully installed Curie, a submerged cable stretching from Los Angeles, California, USA to Valparíso, Chile. Roughly 10,500 kilometers (6,524 miles) long, the subsea cable has been delivering 72 terabits per second of much-needed bandwidth to the continent since late 2019—after a team of divers and engineers tested then buried it. Google announced in November it would be extending a branch to Panama.
19th Most Influential Project of 2020
Enel Green Power last year launched a US$320 million project to build a massive solar photovoltaic plant in the northern Atacama Region, which could help bolster Chile’s unofficial role as Latin America’s clean energy leader. At full capacity, the 382-megawatt Campos del Sol will generate enough energy per year to help slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 900,000 metric tons. That’s the same as taking nearly 200,000 cars off the road for a year.
43rd Most Influential Project of 2020
Brazil’s government announced plans in May to restart the 1,526-kilometer (948-mile) Brazilian railway project that will connect Tocantins to the Port of Ilhéus: a vital link for transporting the country’s mineral and agricultural exports. And in time, an expanded railway system could provide the country’s trading partners an alternative to the Panama Canal.
Peru has a health and sanitation crisis, with 3 million people lacking access to safe water for drinking and cleaning. But the government aims to change that, announcing in January that it plans to provide funds for a US$720 million public-private partnership to deliver clean water in the capital of Lima.
The people of Brazil might soon be able to access all government services in one digital portal—allowing citizens in any part of the country “to access and resolve any and every issue,” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said at the announcement in April. By consolidating 1,600 government websites and mobile apps to one platform by the end of 2020, the government expects to save taxpayers BR100 million each year.
The project encircling Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula would quickly shuttle tourists around the vacation hot spot, though conservationists fear the route would damage ecosystems. Proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2019, the 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) project would include 15 stations from Caribbean beaches to the peninsula’s interior.
Italian architecture firm Stefano Boeri has eco-friendly, futuristic plans for 1,376 acres (557 hectares) of land outside Cancun, Mexico. Proposed in 2019, the revolutionary city would hold 130,000 people—and 7.5 million plants, including 2.3 trees per resident. It also aims to be food and energy self-sufficient, with solar panels and underground-irrigated farmland.
The Mexican government’s US$3.8 billion project to relieve traffic at Mexico City’s airport eschews the traditional centralized hub-and-spoke model. Instead, it opts for an aviation network built around existing infrastructure, a decision architecture firm FGP Atelier calls “a new approach to aviation architecture for the world.” But amid construction, the team unearthed a surprise in May: mammoth bones.
The US$7.6 billion refinery in the port of Dos Bocas will be Mexico’s largest and a huge step toward the country’s goal to achieve energy independence. Pemex started construction in June 2019—and with daily production expected to reach up to 340,000 barrels, the government predicts project costs could be recovered within five years.
After a 2019 dam rupture at an iron ore mine in Brazil killed 270 people, the government ordered all dams built by the same method to be decommissioned. Last year, mining company Vale launched a three-year, US$1.9 billion project to deactivate 10 of those dams.