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The Balbina Dam in Brazil's state of Amazonas floods 2360 km2 of tropical forest to generate an average of only 112.2 MW of electricity. The flat topography and small size of the drainage basin make output small. Vegetation has been left to decompose in the reservoir, resulting in acidic, anoxic water that will corrode the turbines. The shallow reservoir contains 1500 islands and innumerable stagnant bays where the water's residence time will be even longer than the average time of over one year. Balbina was built to supply electricity to Manaus, a city that has grown so much while the dam was under construction that other alternatives are already needed. Government subsidies explain the explosive growth, including Brazil's unified tariff for electricity.
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