Angamos power station

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Angamos power station (Termoeléctrica Angamos) is an operating power station of at least 558-megawatts (MW) in Mejillones, Antofagasta Region, Chile.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Angamos power station Mejillones, Antofagasta Region, Chile -23.0663, -70.3701 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1: -23.0662683, -70.3701192
  • Unit 2: -23.0662683, -70.3701192

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - bituminous 277 MW subcritical - -
Unit 2 operating coal - bituminous 281 MW subcritical - -

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Unit 1 AES Andes SA AES Corp
Unit 2 AES Andes SA AES Corp


Construction began in 2008 for this 558 MW, US$1.3 billion plant, which serves the world's largest copper mine (Escondida).[1][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. Unit 1 has a capacity of 277 MW and Unit 2 has 281 MW.[6]

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.[7]

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[8][9]:

  • 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.[8]

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.[9]


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.[10] Further financing has come from Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (US$677 million).[11]

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.[6]

AES Gener's 2019 annual report listed a contract expiration date of 2026 to 2037 for its Angamos units[2], and Chile's Ministry of Energy did not include the Angamos power station in its list of plants to be disconnected in 2019-2024.[12]

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.[13][14]

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.[15]

In April 2021, AES Gener changed its name to AES Andes.[16][17]

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][18][19][20]

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.[21]

Potential conversion to renewable energy project

In October 2022, AES Andes proposed a first-of-its-kind replacement for the coal-fired power station. Should the submitted environmental permit application be approved, the company intends to convert the facility into a molten salt storage plant. The project would use renewable energy technology to heat Atacama desert salt, which would exchange its stored thermal energy with water and be converted into steam. The initiative is part of the 100% renewable projects of AES Chile and could reach a 560 MW capacity with both units in operation.[22][23][24][25]

In early 2023, public hearings were underway to involve the local community in decision-making processes for the Alba Project (the name given to the upcoming conversion project).[26]

Proposed green hydrogen project

In June 2022, AES Andes announced that a green hydrogen production plant, called Adelaida, would be constructed at the Angamos power station. The green hydrogen production capacity would be equivalent to 2.5 MW and would primarily serve the transportation sector.[27][28]

As of July 2023, the green hydrogen project had received environmental approval[28] and was expected to be completed by 2024.[29]

Articles and Resources


  1. "AES Gener launches construction at Angamos coal-fired plant,", BNAmericas, August 27, 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "2019 Annual Report (page 23)" (PDF). AES Gener. March 1, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "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. 6.0 6.1 "Plan de Descarbonización y Retiro de Centrales Termoeléctricas a Carbón en Chile, Anuncio del gobierno de Sebastián Piñera" (PDF). Chile Sustentable. June 4, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "SMA formula cargos en contra de Central Termoeléctrica Angamos de Mejillonesd,", SMA, June 28, 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. 9.0 9.1 "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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. AES Angamos Coal-fired Power Plant (462MW), IJGlobal, Nov. 2014
  11. Joojin Kim and Soyoung Lee, “Financing Dirty Energy: How Korean Public Financial Institutions Support Coal Power,” SFOC, Jan 2018
  12. "3Q-2020 Earnings Report (p 13)" (PDF). Empresa Eléctrica Angamos SpA. December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "BHP's Chilean mines to terminate coal PPAs with AES Gener". Renewables Now. August 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "BNamericas - AES Gener, mining firms sign US$720mn termination of coal-fired PPAs". BNamericas. August 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Descarbonización: AES Gener anuncia que unidades de Angamos quedarán sin contratos". Electricidad. September 29, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Memoria anual Integrada 2021 (pp 24, 181, 265)" (PDF). AES Andes. April 5, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "La energía de AES Gener es ahora AES Andes | AES Chile". AES Chile. May 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "Ministerio de Energía anuncia histórico cierre adelantado de centrales a carbón". Ministerio de Energía. July 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "AES Accelerates 1 GW of Coal Plant Retirements in Chile". POWER Magazine. July 7, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. "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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. Djunisic, Sladjana (March 1, 2021). "AES Gener posts loss in 2020 as it pledges to go greener". Renewables Now.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. Chile: AES Andes begins first project in the world to convert a coal-fired power plant to an emission-free storage system, BNamericas, October 17, 2022
  23. "AES Andes inicia en Chile el primer proyecto en el mundo de reconversión de central eléctrica a carbón a sistema de almacenamiento". PV Magazine. October 18, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. "AES Andes looks to replace coal power plant in Chile with 560MW molten salt-based energy storage". Energy Storage News. October 18, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. "AES Andes to replace coal-fired units with 560-MW storage system in molten salts". Renewables Now. October 18, 2022.
  26. "Alba Project: they start the process of citizen participation requested by communities". Code Verde. Jan. 13, 2023. {{cite news}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  27. "Snapshot: The Chile clean energy project pipeline of AES Andes," bnamericas, March 20, 2023
  28. 28.0 28.1 "AES Andes advances in its renewable strategy with positive 2022 results," AES Andes, March 1, 2023
  29. "Paving the Road for Competitive Green Hydrogen Hubs: Does Chile Have a Chance?" Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy, May 2023

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.