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From Brazil to Venezuela, Latin America is home to some of the world's largest dams and hydroelectricity is an increasingly important source of power on the continent.

Brazil, for instance, depends on hydroelectricity for more than 75 percent of its electric power supply, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Globally, hydropower accounts for over 16 percent of electricity generation and roughly 85 percent of the world's renewable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. It describes hydro as a clean source of energy that can act as an enabler to other sources of renewable energy.

However, some dams have proved highly controversial in Latin America, with concerns about the displacement of large numbers of people and the destruction of the Amazon rain-forest.

Here, CNBC's "Sustainable Energy" takes a look at some of South America's most impressive hydro installations and their impact on the environment. Some are already in operation, others are up-and-coming.

—By Anmar Frangoul, special to CNBC.com, on Thursday April 16 2015.

De Agostini | De Agostini Editorial | Getty Images