- Today Bocamina coal-fired plant’s Unit I was disconnected. With disconnection of Unit II in May 2022, Enel Generación will be the first power company to shut down coal-fired generation in Chile.
Coronel, December 31, 2020. This morning Enel Generación Chile proceeded to disconnect and cease operations of Bocamina coal-fired plant’s Unit I in Coronel. After the closure of Tarapacá plant on December 31, 2019, the company is steadily progressing in the decarbonization of its generation mix, closing down three years ahead of the agreed term for the end of Bocamina Unit I’s operation.
“Today we are advancing in the achievement of the decarbonization of our generation mix in Chile and, this way, we continue to lead a just energy transition for all, based on the development of renewables. Together with the disconnection of Bocamina’s Unit I, which we performed three years ahead of time, we continue at a firm pace in the execution of our growth plan for renewable projects, with a portfolio currently under construction of around 1.3 GW, to add a total of approximately 2.4 GW of emission-free energy by 2023,” said Paolo Pallotti, Enel Chile’s CEO.
Decarbonization is one of the Enel Group’s strategic pillars. The decision to definitively close the plant ahead of time was taken in the context of the agreement to shut down coal-fired power plants, signed with the Chilean government through the Ministry of Energy in June 2019. Therefore, Enel decided to advance the phasing out of both units of Bocamina and on July 6, of this year, Enel Generación Chile received the authorization from the National Energy Commission to disconnect Bocamina´s Unit I.
Bocamina’s Unit I, with 128 MW of installed capacity, was inaugurated in 1970, with the aim of reinforcing the energy and industrial development of the area and the country. During its 50 years of operation, it managed to contribute to the creation of local employment in the Biobío Region, specifically in the Coronel district, and to the purchase of coal extracted from the Lota mines.
“All this work has been planned following the guidelines of our sustainable development strategy and this decision has had positive impacts from the environmental, economic, and social point of view. We are developing a plan to define the way in which the site where the plant is currently located could be reused. From now on, there will be no new power generation facility that is not renewable,” assured Michele Siciliano, Enel Generación Chile’s CEO.
The fact that this closure is part of the just energy transition process promoted by Enel, also means that the company offered employment alternatives to all the employees who worked in the Unit that was withdrawn from the system. In this regard, the 28 people who worked at Bocamina I, accessed different retraining options to integrate into the company’s other lines of business, alternatives for labor reintegration for those who opted for other professional projects, and exit plans for those who decided not to continue in the company.