Tarapacá becomes the first coal plant to close its operations ahead of schedule

Published on Tuesday, 31 December 2019

  • This milestone is part of the National Decarbonization Plan signed by Enel Generación last June 4th.


Iquique, December 31, 2019 – Today, Enel Generación Chile has disconnected and terminated operations at its Tarapacá Power Plant. This milestone, initially scheduled for May 2020, was pushed up at the company's formal request to the authorities. The Tarapacá Plant has an installed capacity of 158MW, equivalent to 25% of the total capacity of Enel's coal-powered plants in Chile.

“The closure of the Tarapacá Plant is an important step along our path to leading Chile's transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable matrix. One more step on the path we began 10 years ago with a renewable energy proposal in Chile, made possible by the voluntary return of water rights to the State for projects no longer consistent with the country's reality and continuing today with our plan to close coal-based plants and our commitment to increase investments in new renewable projects and to promote new uses of electricity,” explains Paolo Pallotti, CEO for Enel Chile.

Meanwhile, Chilean Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet, highlighted the value of the initiative in one of its core management pillars: “For our sector, this was a year marked by the pursuit of agreements and consensuses to continue moving towards a more sustainable energy matrix, first with the public-private agreement that produced the Energy Matrix Decarbonization Plan, and with the recent announcement of four new plants that would push up their exit plan, particularly in industrially saturated zones.”

Decarbonization is one of the strategic pillars of the Enel Group. The decision to push up the plant’s final closure is framed within the context of a coal-powered plant removal agreement signed with the Chilean government through the Ministry of Energy. The company received authorization from the National Energy Commission on July 26, 2019. 

“We have assumed a commitment to change our energy matrix and make it more sustainable. In this sense, our concern for our workers has been a core focus during this process. All of the Tarapacá Plant workers were offered a relocation plan in other parts of the company, and some in other Group companies in Chile. This work has been fundamental for us, so that the plant closures generate the least possible impact on their lives,” ensures Michele Siciliano, CEO for Enel Generación Chile.

The company has worked one-on-one with each of the 43 people who performed different functions at the Tarapacá Plant, considering their personal and family situation, experience and motivation. As a result, each person was offered relocation opportunities both in the same company and other companies in the Enel Group.

Enel Chile is the largest electricity company in the country in terms of installed capacity. Enel Generación Chile and Enel Green Power Chile have a total capacity of 7,500 MW, 4,700 MW of which comes from renewable energies, composed of 3,500 MW from hydropower, over 600 MW from wind power, around 500 MW from solar power, and approximately 40 MW from geothermal energy.