Bocamina power station

From Global Energy Monitor


The Bocamina power station is a retired 478-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Coronel, Biobío, Chile.


The undated satellite photo below shows the location of the plant in Coronel, Biobío, Chile.

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The Bocamina I and Bocamina II plants started operating in 1970[1] and 2012[2], respectively.

The Bocamina II expansion project was launched in 2006 and received its environmental permit in 2007 pursuant to an EIA (environmental impact assessment.[3]

Planned retirement

In June 2019 the Chilean government announced that the plant would be retired by December 2023 as part of a plan to reduce the country's annual CO2 emissions from the current 30 million tonnes (tons) to four million by 2024.[4] The general manager of the plant stated that the second unit would be retired by 2040.[5]

In May 2020, and following pressure from Chilean and Italian environmental groups, Enel Generación Chile announced that it would request authorisation from Chile's National Energy Commission to bring forward the retirement date of Bocamina 1 to December 31, 2020 and Bocamina 2 to May 31, 2022. Commenting on the decision, Enel Chile's CEO Paolo Pallotti said: "This is a key milestone that marks Enel Chile's exit from coal-fired generation. A change of context and the technological evolution of renewables that makes projects more efficient, allowed us to anticipate the commitment acquired with the country when we signed the National Decarbonization Plan."[6] Enel Generación Chile's General Manager Michele Siciliano noted that with the retirement of the two Bocamina units, Enel is "the first Chilean company to cease coal-fired electricity generation, which has benefits from an environmental, economic, and social point of view." In accordance with Enel's 2020-2022 strategic plan, the company plans to bring online a series of renewable energy projects to satisfy growth in demand and commitments to its large customers, including the 382MW Campos del Sol - one of Chile's largest solar projects currently under construction - and the expansion of the 48MW Cerro Pabellón, South America's only operating geothermal plant.[7] Filippo Taglieri, of Italian group Re:Common which has been calling for Enel to speed up the closure of Bocamina, said: "We hope that Enel will be able to relocate the employees of the power plants in its supply chain and give the city of Coronel the chance to breathe again through appropriate clean up of the plant site."[8]

In July 2020, Chile's national energy commission CNE granted official approval for the retirement of Bocamina I in December 2020[9][10] and Bocamina II in May 2022.[11]

Retirement of Units 1 & 2

Bocamina I was officially taken offline on December 31, 2020 after 50 years in operation, while Bocamina II remained on schedule for a May 2022 shutdown.[12][13]

In December 2021, Chile's National Energy Commission requested that Enel postpone the closure of Bocamina II indefinitely to ensure grid reliability.[14][15] Subsequent announcements from Chile's national electricity coordinator called for Bocamina II to shut down no earlier than September 2022[16], and to leave open the possibility of continuing to operate into 2023.[17]

In May 2022, CNE confirmed that Bocamina's unit 2 would continue operating through September 2022, to support Chile's electricity needs during the winter months of June through September.[18][19][20][21]

On September 30, 2022, Bocamina II was officially shut down, making Enel the first company to close all of its coal-fired power plants in Chile.[22]

Environmental impact & citizen opposition

The Bocamina coal plant was a ongoing source of controversy in the Coronel region. Coal ash from the plant was blamed for an increase in respiratory diseases, cases of cancer, and pulmonary fibrosis in nearby communities.[23]

After a 2008 design modification intended to increase the plant's safety, performance and generating capacity (from 350MW to 370MW), the national fishermen's alliance Confepach (Confederación Nacional de Federaciones de Pescadores Artesanales de Chile) demanded that the plant be required to obtain a new EIA, and in July 2012, Chile's Supreme Court ruled in Confepach's favor.[24]

In December 2013, in response to a new suit filed on behalf of local fishermen, Concepción's court of appeals ordered that Unit 2 be shut down indefinitely, citing the plant's failure to obtain the required environmental impact report.[25]

In August 2014 Bocamina II was fined $4.7 billion pesos for environmental violations, and these sanctions were upheld in March 2015 by the Environmental Court of Valdivia.[26] In April 2015 regulators issued a permit for Bocamina II to return to service pending installation of a state-of-the-art filtration system designed to protect marine life.[27] In July 2015, Endesa announced that the Bocamina II plant had resumed operations.[28]

In April 2017, the Chilean environmental agency SMA (Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente) fined the Bocamina plant 575 million Chilean pesos for excessive emissions of pollutants in 2014, including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.[29]

At a ceremony celebrating the plant's closure in September 2022, Coronel mayor Boris Chamorro hailed Enel's decision to abandon coal-fired power as an important step forward in ending Coronel's status as one of Chile's "sacrifice zones."[30]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Enel Generación Chile[6]
  • Parent company: Enel[6]
  • Location: Coronel, Biobío, Chile
  • Coordinates: -37.0218, -73.1663 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Retired (1970-2020)[12]
    • Unit 2: Retired (2012-2022)[2][22]
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 128MW[6]
    • Unit 2: 350MW[6]
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Histórico: Termoeléctrica Bocamina 1 es desconectada de forma definitiva". TVU | Televisión Universidad de Concepción. December 31, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bocamina II". Enel website. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  3. "Optimización Central Termoeléctrica Bocamina Segunda Unidad". Universidad de los Lagos (in español). July 7, 2016.
  4. Chile to close eight coal-fired stations by 2024, IEEFA, Jun., 2019
  5. Alcalde de Coronel y agrupaciones rechazan el anuncio de cierre de Bocamina I, Canal 9, Jun. 4, 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Enel Generación requests authorization for the early closure of Bocamina, its last coal plant in Chile, Enel Chile, May 27, 2020
  7. "Enel Generación solicita autorización para adelantar retiro de Bocamina, su última central a carbón". Enel Generación Chile press release. May 27, 2020.
  8. Enel dice stop al carbone in Cile, grande vittoria di Re:Common!, Re:Common, May 28, 2020
  9. "Comisión Nacional de Energía autoriza a ENEL Generación Chile S.A. el retiro de servicio de la central Bocamina I". Comisión Nacional de Energía. July 6, 2020.
  10. "Enel receives approval to close 128-MW coal-fired unit in Chile in 2020". Renewables Now. July 7, 2020.
  11. "Comisión Nacional de Energía autoriza a ENEL Generación Chile S.A. el retiro de servicio de la central Bocamina II". Comisión Nacional de Energía. July 23, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Enel cierra Bocamina I tras 50 años de operación y asegura que la transmisión es el desafío para los próximos cinco años". Diario Financiero. December 31, 2020.
  13. "Falta un año para el cierre definitivo del complejo Bocamina". Diario Concepción. April 18, 2021.
  14. "Central Renca no podrá ser retirada antes de agosto de 2022 ante estrechez del sistema eléctrico". Generadoras de Chile. December 2, 2021.
  15. "Plantean retrasar retiro de Bocamina II y Ventanas II para reducir suministro con diésel". Induambiente. December 3, 2021.
  16. Peña, Karen (February 17, 2022). "Coordinador Eléctrico pide postergar hasta septiembre retiro de Bocamina II de manera "urgente"". Diario Financiero.
  17. Peña, Karen (February 18, 2022). "CNE no define fecha de retiro de Bocamina II y pide a Enel flexibilidad para prepararse ante cualquier escenario". Diario Financiero.
  18. "CNE posterga fecha de retiro de servicio de Bocamina II". CNE. May 4, 2022.
  19. "CNE posterga retiro de central a carbón Bocamina II de Enel hasta septiembre ante estrechez energética". Fundación Terram. May 5, 2022.
  20. "Se zanja futuro de Bocamina II: CNE posterga retiro de central de carbón de Enel hasta septiembre". Diario Financiero. May 4, 2022.
  21. "Descarbonización: esta es la nueva fecha de cese de operaciones para Bocamina II". Revista Electricidad. May 4, 2022.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Enel becomes the first Chilean company to stop the use of coal in electricity generation". Enel. September 30, 2022.
  23. Gerente de Enel niega que plantas de Bocamina sean responsables de la contaminación por metales pesados en Coronel, El Mostrador, Jun. 21, 2019
  24. "Corte Suprema ordena a Endesa estudiar impacto ambiental por ampliación de Bocamina II en Coronel". BioBioChile. June 16, 2012.
  25. "Justicia determina la paralización de Central Bocamina II de Coronel". Diario UChile. December 17, 2013.
  26. "Confirman sanciones en contra de central termoeléctrica Bocamina II", Diario UChile, March 28, 2015.
  27. "Endesa Chile to Bring Bocamina II Power Plant Back Online". Latin American Herald Tribune. May 27, 2015.
  28. "Endesa anuncia reinicio de operaciones de central termoeléctrica Bocamina II". La Tercera. July 2, 2015.
  29. "Multan a termoeléctrica Bocamina 1 de Coronel por sobrepasar norma de emisiones contaminante,", Resumen, April 5, 2017.
  30. "Enel se "disculpa" en cierre de Bocamina II: "Esta planta no le hacía bien a los vecinos"". BioBioChile. September 30, 2022.

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