Mejillones power station

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Chile.
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Mejillones power station (also known as Infraestructura Energética de Mejillones or IEM) is a 325-megawatt (MW) power station owned by E-CL (a subsidiary of Engie) in Region II, Chile.

An additional 375 MW is under development.


The undated satellite photo below shows the plant site near Mejillones, II Region, Chile.

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The coal-fired power station consists of one 150 MW and one 175 MW unit, both subcritical, which were commissioned in 1996 and 1998, respectively.[1]

Proposed expansion

The plant received environmental approval in 2010.[2] 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 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.[15]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: E-CL (formerly Edelnor)
  • Parent company: Engie (formerly GDF Suez)
  • Location: Mejillones, II Region, Chile
  • Coordinates: -23.0892, -70.4117 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Construction
    • Unit 2: Shelved
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 375 MW
    • Unit 2: 375 MW
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Projected in service: 2018
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous, Bituminous
  • Coal Source: Imported through port under construction
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Coal-Fired Plants in Chile," Industcards, accessed April 2016
  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. "Engie está "en conversaciones" para enajenar puerto de Mejillones," Pulso, November 10, 2016

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