Ventanas power station

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Ventanas power station (Termoeléctrica Ventanas) is an operating power station of at least 544-megawatts (MW) in Puchuncaví, Valparaíso, Valparaíso Region, Chile with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as Ventanas Campiche power station, Campiche power station (Unit 4), Nueva Ventanas power station (Unit 3).

Location

Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Ventanas power station Puchuncaví, Valparaíso, Valparaíso Region, Chile -32.7512, -71.4825 (exact)

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

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: -32.7512, -71.4825

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired coal - subbituminous 120 subcritical 1964 2020
Unit 2 retired coal - subbituminous 220 subcritical 1977 2023[1]
Unit 3 operating coal - subbituminous 272 subcritical 2010 2025 (planned)
Unit 4 operating coal - subbituminous 272 subcritical 2013 2025 (planned)

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 AES Andes SA [100.0%]
Unit 2 AES Andes SA [100.0%]
Unit 3 AES Andes SA [100.0%]
Unit 4 AES Andes SA [100.0%]

Financing

  • Source of financing: Unit 4: Credit Agricole Group and BNP Paribas Fortis

Background

The four-unit Ventanas project dates back to 1964, when the first 120 MW unit (Ventanas 1) was installed.[2][3][4][5] This was followed by 220 MW Ventanas 2 in 1977.[2][4][5] The 272 MW-each Ventanas 3 (also known as Nueva Ventanas) and Ventanas 4 (known as Campiche) were added in 2010 and 2013, respectively, making the Ventanas complex one of the largest in Chile.[2][5] All four units are fueled by subbituminous coal imported via the attached coal port.[2][6]

In April 2021, plant owner AES Gener changed its name to AES Andes.[7][8]

Planned retirement

Units 1 & 2

In June 2019 the Chilean government announced that Unit 1 would be retired by 2022 and Unit 2 would be retired by 2024 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.[9][10] Plant owner AES Gener confirmed decommissioning dates of November 2022 and May 2024 in its 2019 annual report.[11]

In December 2019 AES Gener reached an agreement with the Chilean government to move the retirement date for Unit 1 to the end of 2020 and the retirement date for Unit 2 to the end of 2022.[4]

On December 29, 2020, Ventanas Unit 1 was decommissioned after 56 years in operation. Despite its retirement, Unit 1 retained 'strategic reserve' status, meaning that it could still theoretically be reactivated to provide backup power supply under exceptional circumstances that put the security and sufficiency of Chile's electrical grid at risk.[3] AES reportedly received significant sums of money between December 2020 and June 2022 to maintain Ventanas Unit 1 in working order under the "strategic reserve" agreement, yet the company did not generate any electricity from Unit 1 during this 18-month period, most notably failing to reactivate Unit 1 as required in response to an August 5, 2021 request from Chile's national electricity agency CEN.[12]

In June 2022, AES Andes requested authorization from the Chilean electrical authority CNE to definitively remove Ventanas Unit 1 from reserve status and shut it down completely.[13][14] In July 2022, Chile's National Energy Commission passed a resolution officially authorizing definitive shutdown of Unit 1.[15]

As of mid-2020, Unit 2 remained on schedule for retirement in December 2022.[16] However, in December 2021, Chile's National Energy Commission requested that AES Andes postpone the closure of Ventanas 2 until 2023 to ensure grid reliability.[17][18][19]

In May 2023, a notice from the Chilean Ministries of Mining and the Environment indicated that Ventanas II was still on track to shut down in the second semester of 2023.[20] The announcement included a note that the employees of Ventanas II would be "relocated or will take advantage of early retirement."[20]

In August 2023, AES Andes announced that it had filed a formal request with Chile's national energy commission (CNE) for exemption from a previously agreed requirement to give 24-month advance notice before disconnecting Ventanas 2.[21][22] If approved, AES Andes' request would allow Ventanas 2 to be retired as early as December 31, 2023[23], nullifying an earlier agreement intended to keep the unit on "Strategic Reserve" status through 2025.[24]

By the end of December 2023, it was reported that a retirement ceremony had taken place for Unit 2.[25]

Units 3 & 4

According to Chile's national decarbonization plan, Nueva Ventanas (Unit 3) and Campiche power station (Unit 4) were to cease operations no later than 2040, though the specific decommissioning dates were yet to be determined. AES Gener agreed to consult with the government every five years to renew details of the plan for Units 3 and 4, taking into account system stability requirements, energy costs, and environmental goals.[5]

In July 2021, AES Andes announced that it would officially retire Ventanas Units 3 and 4 (Nueva Ventanas and Campiche) as early as January 2025, provided that Chile's grid requirements could be met by other sources of electricity.[7][26][27][28]

Environmental Impact

The latest addition to AES Gener's Ventanas coal-fired complex, Unit 4 (Campiche) was originally scheduled for completion in May 2011. However, in June 2009, Chile's Supreme Court ordered that construction be halted, citing improper zoning of the plant. AES Gener had already completed 40% of the $500 million project before it was halted. Subsequent regulatory changes allowed construction of the plant to resume, but the project was again suspended in early 2010 as Puchuncaví municipality took legal steps against the plant due to environmental concerns. In July, 2010, AES Gener reached an agreement with Puchuncaví to renew construction of Campiche, promising in return to invest nearly US$80 million in environmental improvements of the company's local thermal power plants, in public projects and forestation.[29][30] The plant was brought online in March 2013.[31]

In late December 2013, several tons of sardines washed up dead on Ventanas beach near the plant, spurring renewed controversy over Campiche's environmental impact and prompting calls for suspension of operations.[32][33][34]

In June 2022, Chile's environmental regulator SMA halted operations at the Ventanas power plant and the adjacent Codelco copper smelting plant, after excessively high sulfur dioxide emissions were detected.[35] More than 100 residents in the surrounding area - mostly children - fell ill, and classes were suspended at local schools.[36] According to an AES Andes spokesperson, the SMA conducted a site inspection and determined that the power plant was not responsible for the incident.[37]

Opposition

Protest video: "Mr Aes Gener: Polluting Chile for more than 50 years with coal-fired power plants", Alianza Chao Carbón
Webinar Launching the Report "AES Gener, Dirty Energy", Chile Sustentable

Plant owner AES Andes (formerly AES Gener) has been the subject of heavy criticism in recent years from Chilean environmental groups.

In April 2018 a lawsuit was filed against AES Gener by a group of 259 fisherman, demanding damages as a result of AES Gener dumping coal in the bay of Ventanas.[38]

Marchers protest industrial pollution in Ventanas, Chile, in April 2019

In April 2019 a protest was staged in Ventanas against industrial pollution, including a plan by AES Gener to use additional desalinated sea water at the Ventanas power station.[39]

In 2021, the groups Chile Sustentable, Fundación Terram and Alianza Chao Carbón published reports documenting the company's negative impact on human rights, health, and the environment.[40][41] Alianza Chao Carbón has taken a lead role in criticizing AES Gener for not committing to a precise shutdown date for all of its Chilean coal operations, noting that it is among the few companies that have failed to do so.[42]

Financing for Unit 4

In March 2013, a financing agreement with Credit Agricole Group and BNP Paribas Fortis was closed; however, the amount of the financing was not disclosed.[43]

Articles and Resources

References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20240212223530/https://www.latercera.com/pulso/noticia/aes-andes-realiza-actividad-de-cierre-de-unidad-2-de-central-ventanas/DI4UVOVC5NCLHEJ7TM2J3FLVBQ/. Archived from the original on 12 February 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Ventana Coal Power Plant Chile," Global Energy Observatory, accessed March 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Puchuncaví: Concretan retiro de central Termoeléctrica a carbón Ventanas 1". MásNoticia. 2020-12-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Engie, AES to retire 674 MW of coal capacity in Chile earlier than agreed, Renewables Now, Dec. 10, 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "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)
  6. "Complejo Termoeléctrico Ventanas | Proyecto "Lo que los Conflictos Producen..."". Universidad de los Lagos. July 7, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Memoria anual Integrada 2021 (pp 181, 265)" (PDF). AES Andes. April 5, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "La energía de AES Gener es ahora AES Andes | AES Chile". AES Chile. May 4, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. Chile to close eight coal-fired stations by 2024, IEEFA, Jun., 2019
  10. Gobierno anunció el cierre de dos termoeléctricas a carbón en Puchuncaví, El Observador, Jun. 4, 2019
  11. "Memoria Integrada 2019 (p 237)" (PDF). AES Gener. 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "El mundo al revés: Ventanas 1, la generadora fantasma". El Mostrador. October 24, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "AES Andes pide el cese definitivo de operaciones de la central Ventanas I a partir del 30 de junio de 2022". Puranoticia. June 17, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Filial de norteamericana AES pide autorización para retirar definitivamente central a carbón en Chile". Diario Financiero Chile. June 17, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "CNE fue informada sobre el retiro de tres unidades generadoras a carbón". Comisión Nacional de Energía. August 1, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Cómo se viene el calendario de cierre de las próximas centrales termoeléctricas a carbón". Electricidad. June 1, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Coordinador Eléctrico propone postergar a 2023 la salida de termoeléctricas Ventanas II y Bocamina II". Fundación Terram. December 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "Plantean retrasar retiro de Bocamina II y Ventanas II para reducir suministro con diésel". Induambiente. December 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "Complejo escenario energético obligará definiciones de gobierno en Chile". La República. January 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Autoridades participan del cierre de Fundición Ventanas: Conozca el plan de 40 acciones que impulsa el Gobierno para Concón, Quintero y Puchuncaví". Gob.cl. May 31, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. "AES Andes Requests Early and Final Withdrawal of Unit 2 of Ventanas Power Plant | AES". AES Andes. August 24, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. "AES Andes solicita retiro anticipado y definitivo de Unidad 2 de Central Ventanas". AES Andes. August 24, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. "AES Andes solicita retiro anticipado de termoeléctrica Ventanas II: unidad saldría de operación a fines de 2023". Fundación Terram. August 25, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. "AES Andes renews request for early closure of coal-fired unit in Chile". Renewables Now. August 25, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. AES Andes realiza actividad de cierre de Unidad 2 de Central Ventanas, La Tercera, December 28, 2023
  26. "Ministerio de Energía anuncia histórico cierre adelantado de centrales a carbón". Ministerio de Energía. July 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. "AES Accelerates 1 GW of Coal Plant Retirements in Chile". POWER Magazine. July 7, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. "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)
  29. "AES Gener recibe autorizacion definitiva para retomar construccion de termoelectrica campiche". Diario UChile. August 16, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. "PROYECTO: COMPLEJO TERMOELÉCTRICO VENTANAS" (PDF). Universidad de los Lagos. July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. "AES Gener confirma inicio operaciones de central Ventanas IV para el próximo mes". Minería Chilena. February 27, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. "AES GENER reconoce falla en Ventanas que coincide con mortandad de peces en la costa,", El Ciudadano, December 2013.
  33. "Ventanas: Nueva varazón de sardinas en zona de termoeléctrica de AES Gener". La Nación. December 28, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. "Piden no autorizar operación de Central Campiche hasta determinar su responsabilidad en muerte de sardinas en Ventanas,", Revista Electricidad, December 2013.
  35. "SMA dicta medidas provisionales contra el Complejo Termoeléctrico Ventanas". Revista Electricidad. June 7, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. "Intoxicación masiva en un cordón industrial chileno: "Está todo contaminado: suelo, agua y aire"". El País. June 15, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. "Pollution in Quintero and Puchuncaví: government instructs provisional measures and AES Chile rules out responsibility". The LA News. June 8, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  38. Empresa enfrenta nueva demanda de pescadores por vertimiento de carbón en Puchuncaví, Biobio Chile, Apr. 25, 2018
  39. Once again on the street: women demonstrate against polluting companies in Chile, Sputnik News, Apr. 19, 2019
  40. "AES Gener: Energía Sucia: Afectación de Derechos Humanos e Incumplimiento de la Regulación Eléctrica y Ambiental" (PDF). Chile Sustentable / Alianza Chao Carbón. December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. "Minuta Relativa al Registro de Varamientos de Carbón en Caleta Ventanas Ano 2020" (PDF). Fundación Terram. February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  42. "Tras anuncio de Engie de salida total del carbón para 2025, ambientalistas apuntan a Aes Gener y Colbún". El Mostrador. April 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  43. "Preview of AES Campiche Coal-Fired Power Plant (270MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-07.

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.