The Bocamina Thermoelectric Plant began operating in 1970 and its proprietor is the Chilean State. The construction of the plant´s Unit II started in 2008 and has continued ever since in an area adjacent to the historic first unit. Its environment was characterized by dense urbanization and was inhabited by about 1,200 families who mostly lived in very poor and vulnerable conditions.
The impacts that emerged during the construction phase of the second unit gave rise to a major conflict between the communities that lived near the plant. In 2010, Endesa Chile, currently Enel Generación Chile, began relocating the families to new homes in other neighborhoods.
The resettlement through the allocation of new homes, in areas far from their original houses, led to a fundamental change in the lifestyle of the affected families. The process was a solitary one for the families and lead to adaptation problems because of the impacts on the human and socio-economic environment.
At the same time, in 2013 and 2014, because of simmering social pressures and conflicts, Endesa Chile signed two agreements with 25 artisanal fishermen´s organizations. An annual compensation amount was established for each of the organization's 2,725 members, a payment that ended in 2019.
Applying international resettlement standards
As of January 2017, Enel initiated a detailed analysis process to rebuild its relationship with the affected population and remedy the impacts of the resettlement on the community. Basing its actions on the advice of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a company with extensive international experience in the area, Enel identified a number of gaps to be addressed by the company. The standards set by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) were taken as an instrumental reference for the analysis, especially Performance Standard No. 5 on land acquisition and involuntary resettlement.
Because of its retroactivity, this process marks a milestone in impact analysis and relative remediation. Based on the results achieved, Enel prepared an action plan to remedy persistent problems, adequately address the situation of each family, and thus pacifically end the conflict.
Enel Generación Chile and the representatives of the resettled families signed agreements to move forward to reach a new relationship based on trust, dialogue, and transparency. A local team trained in IFC regulations has established and has been carrying out a thorough resettlement plan.
This new social management, based on criteria of auditability, transparency, measurable and equitable solutions, breaks a paradigm based on economic transaction as a means of conflict resolution. This change involves forging a relationship between the Company and society, which, in the short term, established some conflictive areas while, in the long term, creates value for both parties.
In 2020, and complying with the agreements signed with the families, local players and the Ministry of Housing, Enel successfully completed the resettlement process.
Restoring livelihoods and collaborating with artisanal fishermen´s unions
The Plan for the Restoration of Livelihoods seeks to restore the livelihoods of families resettled in different neighborhoods of the municipality of Coronel through programs that address the physical, human, social, natural, and economic capitals.
During the 2020-2021 period, Enel has designed and implemented projects and programs for the resettled families such as the competition-based fund for micro-entrepreneurs called "Coronel Emprende – resettled families", the construction of 25 buildings for communal use and recreational purposes and the "Rosita Medel", scholarship program for university students who are members of the resettled families.
In the area of Enel´s work with artisanal fishermen´s unions, a fundamental change has finally been reached because today the relationship between the Company and the unions is based on the principles of a public-private partnership, social involvement and transparency.
In 2019, Enel Generación Chile and 20 fishermen’s´ trade unions, algae gatherers and women who produce dried fish meat and are known as “charqueadoras” established a group that contributes to the development of the community. After long conversations, the adequate conditions to sign a long-term collaboration agreement that would lead to Colonel's local development were reached in December of that year.
The agreement has permitted the participants to undertake activities that promote the social cohesion of the trade unions, the construction of community infrastructure and the implementation of the competition-based fund for the Development of Colonel's Artisanal Fishermen. This initiative has benefited 2,039 members and partners of the unions of the agreement, who can access financing and advice to complete their productive projects.
Coronel marks a historic milestone in the decarbonization of Chile
December 31, 2020 was a milestone in the transition to a cleaner and more renewable energy matrix for our country: the date marked the final disconnection of Bocamina's first unit, complying with the priorities of the National Decarbonization Plan. This way, Enel , as promised, met its purpose of leading this process in Chile and the world, promoting sustainable energy development.
The next step will be the ultimate closure of the Bocamina II unit as of May 31, 2022 – almost two decades earlier than expected – which will make Enel Chile the first company to close all its coal-fired plants in the country.
In the area of community relationships, Enel will maintain all the commitments established with the communities and the municipality of Coronel, permanently prioritizing the creation of value for the region. This is because the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable economy must be economically and socially fair for workers and their communities.