Punta Alcalde power station

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Chile.
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The Punta Alcalde power station is a 740-megawatt (MW), $1.4 billion coal-fired thermoelectric project proposed by Endesa for Punta Alcalde in the coastal area of Huasco, III Region, Chile. The two 370-megawatt units are to be constructed in Chile's Atacama region, close to Antofagasta Minerals' Los Pelambres mine, Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama, and Lumina Copper's Caserones mine, among others.

In 2015 the project was suspended.

Location

The map below shows Punta Alcalde, the approximate location where the plant would be built.

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Background

In June 2012 a 7-2 vote of the regional environmental commission (Comisión de Evaluación Ambiental) blocked Endesa's proposal, citing the project's potential to cause water and air pollution.[1] However, the suspension was lifted in December 2012 by a Chilean ministerial group, after Endesa agreed to spend $40 million to reduce emissions. Endesa plans to start commercial operations in 2018.[2] The project is proposed to have the capacity to supply around 12 percent of energy demand in Chile's central energy grid.[3]

In August 2013 a Chilean appeals court blocked the construction of the project and ordered the ministerial group to reconvene and hear arguments against the Punta Alcalde project before reaching a new decision on the project's potential environmental impact.[4]

In January 2014, in a split decision, the Supreme Court of Chile cleared the way for the $1.4 billion project to proceed.[5][6] (The Supreme Court's announcement of the decision, in Spanish, is available here.) The decision was quickly denounced by fishermen and environmentalists, who expect the plant to gravely damage coastal fisheries and marine life.[7] Following the ruling, Endesa announced that it expected to begin construction of the plant in 2015.[8]

In September 2014 Enel (Endesa's parent company) announced that the plant would be suspended due to a lack of demand for the electricity.[9]

In January 2015, Endesa confirmed that it had suspended development of the plant and its associated transmission line. As reported by Reuters, the company said that it had "evaluated adapting Punta Alcalde to make it a profitable and technologically sustainable project, but that the needed modifications would require important changes to the project's environmental permit, which could prove difficult for regulatory approval."[10]

In July 2015 Endesa said it will no longer build coal plants in Chile and said it had abandoned the Punta Alcalde coal project. Endesa is owned by Italian utility Enel, which in March 2015 announced an agreement with Greenpeace that it would phase out future investments in coal.[11][12]

Citizens groups campaigning on the proposed plant

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Endesa
  • Parent company: Enel
  • Location: Punta Alcalde, III Region, Chile
  • Coordinates: -28.5702778, -71.3113889 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 370 MW
    • Unit 2: 370 MW
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources

References

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