Mejillones power station

From SourceWatch
(Redirected from Infraestructura Energética)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

{{#badges:CoalSwarm|Navbar-Chilecoal}} Mejillones power station is a 695-megawatt (MW) power station owned by Engie Energía Chile S.A. (formerly E-CL), a subsidiary of Engie in Region II, Chile.

The second 375-MW unit is also known as Infraestructura Energética de Mejillones, IEM1, or Red Dragon.


The undated satellite photo below shows the old plant site to the southwest and the new construction ("Red Dragon") to the northeast, near Mejillones, II Region, Chile.

Loading map...


Unit 1 (150 MW) and Unit 2 (170 MW) were built in 1996 and 1998.[1]

Units 4 and 5, each 375 MW, received environmental approval in 2010.[2] (It is not clear why there is no Unit 3.) Units 4 and 5 are also known as IEM1 and IEM2; they are also known as Red Dragon. In May 2012, E-CL sold 30% of the project to Chile-based Luksic Group and was reportedly looking for a second business partner to buy a 30% share, which would leave E-CL with a 40% stake.[3] To make construction of the plant viable, E-CL sought to sign an energy contract with one of northern Chile's large mining companies. However, as of July 2013, E-CL's General Manager Lodewijk Verdeyen acknowledged that no deal had been reached, effectively postponing construction of the plant indefinitely.[4][5]

E-CL continued to hold out hopes that a proposed new transmission line linking Chile's two major power grids (northern Chile's SING grid and central Chile's SIC grid) might help E-CL find customers for the plant's electricity further afield, in Chile's Region III.[6] In December 2014, EC-L won a 15-year contract to supply 5,040 GWh of electricity annually to central Chile's SIC grid via the new transmission line, and the Mejillones power plant was mentioned as a potential energy supplier for the grid. However, the size of the plant was reported as only 375 MW, implying the plant's second unit might be deferred.[7]

In January 2015, Chilean energy minister Máximo Pacheco announced that the connector line, to be constructed by EC-L, would be ready by 2017[8][9], and the Chilean business news site La Tercera Negocios cited 2018 as the anticipated completion date for Infraestructura Energética's Unit 1.[10]

Doosan Škoda Power will supply the 375-MW steam turbine for the power plant, and the project’s EPC supplier is South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction.[11]

The 375 MW IEM1 power station is under construction, as well as a port also owned by Engie. The port will receive more than 6 million tons of coal and limestone a year. The total investment for the plant and port is US$1.1 billion.[12]

In October 2015, Engie Energia Chile's CFO Alex Freitas announced that IEM unit 1 was on schedule to begin commercial operations in July 2018, but that unit 2 had been shelved following Engie's recent decision to stop building new coal-fired plants.[13][14] In mid-2016, Chile's national energy journal Electricidad confirmed the projected July 2018 start-up date.[15]

In November 2016, the Chilean business news site Pulso reported that Engie had put IEM2 up for sale in early 2016 and was also looking to sell its interests in the port project. Alex Leveque, CEO of Engie Energia Chile, was quoted as saying that Engie would not pursue further development of IEM2 due to the company's shifting focus towards renewable energy, but that he expected a buyer for IEM2 to eventually step forward, as the site, permits and engineering plans for the second unit are already in place.[16]

As of December 2016, IEM1 was 57% complete and still on track to begin commercial operations in mid-2018, while the port was 58% complete.[17]

In November 2017 E-CL announced successful completion of the 600km-long transmission line between Mejillones (Antofagasta region) and Cardones (Atacama region), allowing Chile's two major power grids (northern Chile's SING grid and central Chile's SIC grid) to interconnect.[18]

In October 2018 Unit 4 began test operations.[19] In November 2018 it was reported the the plant would be commissioned in Q1 2019.[20] Unit 4 was commissioned in May 2019.[21]

Project Details for Unit 4 and Unit 5 expansion ("Red Dragon")

  • Sponsor: Engie Energía Chile S.A. (formerly E-CL)
  • Parent company: Engie (formerly GDF Suez)
  • Location: Mejillones, II Region, Chile
  • Coordinates: -23.0860251, -70.4049643 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 4: Operating
    • Unit 5: Shelved
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 4: 375 MW
    • Unit 5: 375 MW
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: Unit 4: 2019
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous, Bituminous
  • Coal Source: Imported through port under construction
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Mejillones Coal Plant," Global Energy Observatory, accessed June 2018
  2. "Ficha del Proyecto: Infraestructura Energética Mejillones," Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental, 2010
  3. "Luksic negocia comprar 30% de nuevo proyecto de E-CL en Mejillones," NME. May 5, 2012.
  4. "E-CL posterga proyecto por US$ 1.500 millones en el norte," Economía y Negocios, July 5, 2013
  5. "E.CL Falls After Postponing Northern Chile Power Project," Bloomberg, July 5, 2013
  6. "E-CL shelves US$1.5bn coal project due to mine development uncertainty in Chile," BNAmericas, July 9, 2013
  7. "French energy firms win contracts in Chilean electricity tender," Platts, December 12, 2014.
  8. "Máximo Pacheco anunció que interconexión eléctrica entre el SIC y SING estará lista el 2017," DUNA, January 29, 2015.
  9. "Chile to Connect Its 2 Major Power Grids by 2017," Latin American Herald Tribune, January 30, 2015.
  10. "La revancha de GDF Suez en Chile," La Tercera Negocios, February 1, 2015.
  11. "Doosan Škoda Power to supply steam turbine for Chile's power plant," CIA News, Feb 16, 2016
  12. "Obras en nueva central termoeléctrica y puerto en Mejillones registran avance de hasta casi 34%," Electricidad, May 24, 2016
  13. "Chile's E-CL to shelve 375MW coal project," BN Americas, October 30, 2015
  14. Infraestructura Energética Mejillones: Potencia energética, Construcción Minera y Energía, 1 Aug. 2016.
  15. "Infraestructura Energética Mejillones: El proyecto de E-CL que usará la línea de interconexión SIC-SING," Electricidad, June 8, 2016
  16. "Engie está "en conversaciones" para enajenar puerto de Mejillones," Pulso, November 10, 2016
  17. "Engie: Hay que avanzar en integración energética en la región," El Mercurio, April 7, 2017
  18. "Con éxito TEN finaliza proyecto y da inicio a histórica interconexión eléctrica en Chile," Engie press release, November 21, 2017
  20. End to the coal age: Engie enlists the opening of the last plant of this type in Chile LT Pulso, Nov. 26, 2018
  21. Más carbón al aire en Mejillones: La firma francesa Engie inaugura nueva central termoeléctrica en la región de Antofagasta, El Diario, May 30, 2019

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources