- Within the framework of its Just Energy Transition strategy, the company today shut down Unit II of its 350-MW Bocamina plant, Enel Generación Chile’s last remaining coal-powered generating unit.
- Enel Chile expects to increase the renewable capacity of its system by 500 MW aprox. in the coming months, in addition to the 221 MW of solar energy that became commercial operative between August and September.
- With the closure of Bocamina, the company hit the target set in 2019, with the signing of the National Decarbonization Agreement, some 18 years earlier than initially proposed.
Coronel, September 30, 2022. Today, Enel Chile, through its subsidiary Enel Generación Chile, shut down Unit II of the Bocamina thermoelectric plant in Coronel, following authorization from the National Energy Commission. The closure of the last of the plant’s two units made Enel the first generator in the electricity sector to cease using coal in its generation operations.
With this milestone, and in compliance with its commitment to the 2019 National Decarbonization Agreement, Enel Chile continues with its objective to decarbonize its generation matrix and further the development of a broad portfolio of renewable projects that includes wind, geothermal, solar, hydraulic, and battery units.
“We set out to lead the way in energy transition in the country, and today marks another step in this direction, as we become the first company in the national energy sector to stop using coal in its operations. Simultaneously, in recent weeks two of our renewable plants have entered into commercial operation: Azabache (60.9 MW) and Sol de Lila (161 MW) and in the coming months we expect to connect some 500 MW of renewable capacity, for a total equivalent to twice the power of Bocamina II (350 MW)”, stated Fabrizio Barderi, General Manager of Enel Chile.
Enel Chile has taken a great step forward in its process of decarbonization, an increase in renewable energies, and in particular with the closure and permanent disconnection of the Bocamina plant (Units I and II), as part of the implementation of the Just Energy Transition strategy, incorporating technological, social, and environmental solutions and placing the workers at the plant, its contractors, and the communities of Coronel at the core of its decisions.
In relation to the above, it is important to note that each one of the 56 workers directly employed until today by Enel in the operation of Unit II of the Bocamina Power Plant were transferred to other positions within the Company or opted for reintegration programs into other professional projects, as was the case following the closure and total disconnection of Unit I of Bocamina and the coal unit of the Tarapacá plant.
“I want to reiterate that our commitment to the territory does not end today. We have fulfilled our commitment to shut down our last coal-fired power plant in Chile, but at the same time we are studying solutions that make for a sustainable and innovative transformation of the existing infrastructure” said James Lee Stancampiano, General Manager of Enel Generación Chile.
Enel definitively ceases its operations at Bocamina with the commitment to comply with all standing agreements with the community of Coronel. Over the past six years, the Enel Sustainability team in the commune has run a community relations plan that placed human rights at its very core, a cornerstone of social, human, and economic development in the area. A first axis of investment consisted of the realignment of the resettlement process according to international standards through the restitution of livelihoods, social spaces, and productive tools that had not been considered previously, and a second axis that focused on economic development, particularly in its support of more than 250 local enterprises.
Landfill and Future of the Site
Following the closure of Unit II of Bocamina, the use of the complex's landfill will also end. Since 2019, the 10-hectare site has been the focus of an ambitious revegetation-by-design project, a nature-based solution that is the first of its kind in Chile, transforming it into a living native forest within Coronel.
In terms of the future of the facilities, several alternatives for the reuse of the assets are being evaluated in order to breathe new life into this area of Coronel and create opportunities for development.