Angamos power station

From Global Energy Monitor


Angamos power station is a 558-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Mejillones, Antofagasta, Chile.[1]


The map below shows the plant, which is located in Mejillones' industrial zone.

Loading map...


Construction began in 2008 for this US$1.3 billion plant, which serves the world's largest copper mine (Escondida).[2] The plant, the first significant addition to northern Chile's SING (Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande) power grid in the past decade, was completed ahead of schedule, with Unit 1 going online in April 2011 and Unit 2 following six months later.[3] It received widespread recognition within the industry for its modern design, including an advanced air quality control system and seawater cooling towers that were the first of their kind in South America. In 2012, the Angamos facility won Power Magazine's "Plant of the Year" award[4] and the international EEI Edison award.[5]

The power station receives coal from the Port of Mejillones.

Environmental Impact

In mid-2016, the Chilean environmental agency SMA (Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente) charged the Angamos plant with several infractions of environmental regulations, including excessive emissions of pollutants in 2015.[6]

In April 2022, responding to a lawsuit brought by the Mejillones Tour Operators Association and others, Chile's Supreme Court ruled that the Angamos power station needed to undergo a revised environmental impact assessment taking into account the plant's effects on climate change. The court ruled that the following specific factors must be taken into account in the new EIA[7][8]:

  • changes to the terrestrial environment and the atmosphere
  • changes in the marine environment due to modifications in pH and water temperature
  • changes in the marine environment due to the modification of the composition, abundance, biomass and availability of macrofauna in the sub-tidal community
  • changes in the composition of subtidal sediment and the depth of the seabed.[7]

The plaintiffs argued that the lack of consideration of climate change violated their constitutional rights to life, equality before the law, the right to live in an environment free of pollution, and property rights.[8]


The power station's construction was funded by USD 988.5 million in loans and credit, provided by a consortium of banks, and USD 119.7 million in equity provided by plant owner AES Gener. The consortium of banks included Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Royal Bank of Scotland, ING Group, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Dexia Group, DekaBank, Credit Agricole Group, DZ Bank, Helaba, and KfW.[9]

Planned Phase-out

In June 2019, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera released a plan drafted by the Chilean Ministry of Energy detailing the decommissioning schedule for all Chilean coal-fired plants. According to the plan, Angamos power station will cease operations no later than 2040, though the specific decommissioning date is yet to be determined. AES Gener agrees to consult with the government every five years to renew details of the plan, taking into account system stability requirements, energy costs, and environmental goals.[10]

AES Gener's 2019 annual report listed a contract expiration date of 2026 to 2037 for its Angamos units[1], and Chile's Ministry of Energy did not include the Angamos power station in its list of plants to be disconnected in 2019-2024.[11]

In August 2020, AES Gener signed a US $840.1 million deal with the multinational BHP Group, allowing for the early termination of power purchase agreements with BHP's Chilean copper mines and processing plants, which are switching to cheaper renewables. BHP had been scheduled to purchase power from the Angamos coal plant through 2029, but now will discontinue its energy purchases from AES Gener effective August 8, 2021. AES Gener announced that it would continue to sell power from the Angamos plant on the spot market as long as necessary to stabilise Chile's grid, with an eye to closing the plant thereafter. In the meantime, AES Gener will invest US$200 million from the BHP deal in new renewables capacity.[12][13]

In September 2020, AES Gener confirmed that it has no future energy supply contracts planned for the Angamos plant, that the plant will no longer be considered one of its strategic assets, and that the company intends to phase out operations at units 1 and 2 as soon as demand and system security allow.[14]

In April 2021, AES Gener changed its name to AES Andes.[15][16]

In July 2021, AES Andes announced that it would officially retire both Angamos units as early as January 2025, provided that Chile's grid requirements could be met by other sources of electricity.[16][17][18]

AES passed along the cost of the early termination of PPAs (power purchase agreements) linked to the Angamos plant, with the value of the plant, property, and equipment a complete loss for the company.[19]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Empresa Eléctrica Angamos SpA[1]
  • Parent company: AES Andes (formerly AES Gener)[1][15]
  • Location: Mejillones, Antofagasta, Chile
  • Coordinates: -23.0662683, -70.3701192 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Operating
    • Unit 2: Operating
  • Gross Capacity: 558 MW[1][14]
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: 2011[3]
  • Coal Type: Bituminous, Subbituminous
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (US$677 million)[20]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "2019 Annual Report (page 23)" (PDF). AES Gener. March 1, 2019.
  2. "AES Gener launches construction at Angamos coal-fired plant,", BNAmericas, August 27, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "AES Gener concreta entrada en operación comercial de unidad II de termoeléctrica Angamos,", Emol Economía, October 14, 2011.
  4. "Plant of the Year: AES Gener’s Angamos Power Plant Earns POWER’s Highest Honor,", Power Magazine, August 1, 2012.
  5. "AES Gener Wins International EEI Edison Award,", PR Newswire, June 4, 2012.
  6. "SMA formula cargos en contra de Central Termoeléctrica Angamos de Mejillonesd,", SMA, June 28, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Corte Suprema ordena revisión extraordinaria de impacto ambiental de termoeléctrica a carbón Angamos de AES Corporation". OLCA (Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales). April 21, 2022. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Mejillones Tourist Service Association and others with the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) of Antofagasta". Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. April 19, 2022. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  9. AES Angamos Coal-fired Power Plant (462MW), IJGlobal, Nov. 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Plan de Descarbonización y Retiro de Centrales Termoeléctricas a Carbón en Chile, Anuncio del gobierno de Sebastián Piñera" (PDF). Chile Sustentable. June 4, 2019.
  11. "3Q-2020 Earnings Report (p 13)" (PDF). Empresa Eléctrica Angamos SpA. December 2020.
  12. "BHP's Chilean mines to terminate coal PPAs with AES Gener". Renewables Now. August 10, 2020.
  13. "BNamericas - AES Gener, mining firms sign US$720mn termination of coal-fired PPAs". BNamericas. August 10, 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Descarbonización: AES Gener anuncia que unidades de Angamos quedarán sin contratos". Electricidad. September 29, 2020.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "La energía de AES Gener es ahora AES Andes | AES Chile". AES Chile. May 4, 2021.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "AES Accelerates 1 GW of Coal Plant Retirements in Chile". POWER Magazine. July 7, 2021.
  17. "Presidente de AES Corp y retiro del 100% de sus carboneras en Chile: "Me parece razonable acelerar estas decisiones para el 2030"". Generadoras de Chile. July 11, 2021.
  18. "Memoria anual Integrada 2021 (p 181)" (PDF). AES Andes. April 5, 2022.
  19. Djunisic, Sladjana (March 1, 2021). "AES Gener posts loss in 2020 as it pledges to go greener". Renewables Now.
  20. Joojin Kim and Soyoung Lee, “Financing Dirty Energy: How Korean Public Financial Institutions Support Coal Power,” SFOC, Jan 2018

Related articles

External resources