Enel to file for permit to close last coal-fired units in Chile by 2022

The Bocamina thermal power plant complex in Coronel, Chile. Image courtesy of Enel Group

May 28 (Renewables Now) - Power company Enel Chile SA (NYSE:ENIC) and its electricity generation subsidiary Enel Generacion Chile SA (FRA:EPN) have decided to close their last coal-fired plant in 2022 to exit coal earlier than previously agreed with the Chilean government.

The news was announced on Thursday by Enel SpA (BIT:ENEL), Italian utility giant and the parent organisation of both companies, which said that Enel Generacion will file a request with the Chile’s National Energy Commission (CNE) to authorise the closure of two units at the Bocamina plant.

The 128-MW Bocamina I was to be taken offline by the end of 2023 and the 350-MW Bocamina II in 2040 at the latest, as part of the national decarbonisation plan signed with the Chilean energy ministry last year.

Enel Chile will now seek to pull the plug on Bocamina I by December 31, 2020 and cease operations at Bocamina II by May 31, 2022.

Enel said the net book value of the two units reaches around EUR 790 million (USD 871.9m), including dismantling costs, at the Enel Group level.

In 2019, Enel Generacion Chile requested and received the CNE approval to disconnect the 158-MW coal-fired unit at the Tarapaca power plant some five months ahead of the agreed schedule. The unit was taken offline on December 31, 2019.

“We will be the first power company in Chile to fully exit the coal sector, while continuing to safely build renewable capacity, with concrete benefits from an environmental, economic and social standpoint. This is fully in line with our Group’s decarbonization strategy,“ said Antonio Cammisecra, head of Global Power Generation at Enel.

By the time Bocamina II is shut down in 2022, 2 GW of renewable energy capacity will be ready. The company said that half of this is already under construction, including a hybrid plant combining the 60.9-MW Azabache solar park with 90-MW Valle de los Vientos wind farm.

Also under construction is the 382-MW Campos del Sol solar project and the 33-MW expansion of the 48-MW Cerro Pabellon geothermal plant, the only operating facility of its kind in South America, Enel added.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.104)

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