Gecelca 3 power station

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Gecelca 3 power station (Central Térmica Gecelca) is an operating power station of at least 437-megawatts (MW) in Puerto Libertador, Córdoba, Colombia.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Gecelca 3 power station Puerto Libertador, Puerto Libertador, Córdoba, Colombia 7.99111, -75.59456 (exact)

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

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Gecelca 3, Gecelca 3.2: 7.99111, -75.59456

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year
Gecelca 3 operating coal: subbituminous 164 subcritical 2015
Gecelca 3.2 operating coal: subbituminous 273 subcritical 2018

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Gecelca 3 Gecelca SAESP [100%] Gecelca SAESP [100.0%]
Gecelca 3.2 Gecelca SAESP [100%] Gecelca SAESP [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Las Palmeras mine


The plant's two units - 164-megawatt Gecelca 3 and 273-megawatt Gecelca 3.2 - are a project of the Colombian public utility company Gecelca S.A.[1] [2]

The originally projected operation dates for the two units were 2013 and 2015, respectively.[3] However, construction was plagued by repeated delays. CUC-DTC asked for a one-year extension on December 9, 2012, moving Gecelca 3's anticipated completion date to December 2013. Gecelca fined CUC-DTC US$75,000 for the delay, casting doubt over CUC-DTC's future role in the construction of Gecelca 3.2.[4] Despite these delays, CUC-DTC was also chosen in late 2013 as the winning bidder for the US$430 million Gecelca 3.2 project.[5]

The US$690 million Gecelca 3 power station was finally brought online in September 2015, becoming the first commercially operating plant in Colombia to use circulating fluidized bed technology.[6] [2]

As of March 2016, construction of Gecelca 3.2 was 57% complete.[5]

In November 2016, indigenous demonstrators blocked entrance to the plant, and construction was temporarily suspended.[7][8]

In November 2016, the Colombian national planning agency CONPES recommended that Gecelca be granted a government-funded loan of 250 billion pesos for completion of the Gecelca 3.2 power station. The CONPES report noted that challenging economic conditions for Colombian energy projects in late 2015/2016 had negatively impacted Gecelca's cash flow, and that the company could no longer obtain the necessary funding from commmercial sources. The report further stated that construction of Gecelca 3.2 was 82% complete, with its projected start-up date now delayed until the second half of 2017. [9] In April 2017, Colombia's Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito Público issued Resolución 0951 approving the loan of 250 billion pesos, with funding to be provided by Banco Davivienda S.A.[10]

As of November 2017, the Gecelca 3.2 plant had still not begun commercial operations, but a draft 2017-2031 national energy plan issued by the Colombian government agency UPME indicated that Gecelca 3.2 would come online sometime in the first half of 2018.[11]

Gecelca 3.2 began test operations on April 20, 2018,[12] and entered commercial operation on September 28, 2018.[13]

Gecelca S.A. plans to fuel the plant via its Las Palmeras mine project, using coal extracted from an open-pit mine northeast of Puerto Libertador [14] in partnership with mining company Cerro Matoso S.A.[15] In an October 2020 interview, Gecelca president Andrés Yabrudy indicated that the company would supply the plant with coal from its own mines starting in 2021.[16]

The Gecelca plant has been declared a project of national strategic importance for Colombia and supplies roughly 5% of the country's energy needs.[17]

In an August 2023 Just Transitions report, it was noted that Gecelca 3 and Gecelca 32 had "Firm Energy Obligations" until 2032 and 2035, respectively.[18] The units represented two of only three total Colombian coal-fired generating units with energy commitments past the year 2025.

Environmental and Human Rights Impacts

In April 2020, La Liga del Silencio reported that Colombia's indigenous Zenú people are taking legal action against Cerro Matoso S.A. for the company's failure to respect the Zenús' right to prior consent as guaranteed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The report noted that increased mining in the Puerto Libertador region has caused significant degradation of ancestral Zenú lands and led to serious conflict, including incidents of intimidation and assassination of Zenú community leaders.[15]

In January 2023, legal proceedings were underway following a complaint issued by members of the local La Libertad Indigenous Council claiming that a member of the council was facing harassment and abuse following activism relating to the protection of ancestral land which had been developed by the power plant. [19]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Reseña Histórica". Gecelca S.A. Retrieved January 21, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Generación". Gecelca website. Retrieved June 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Gecelca construye térmicas por unos us$656 millones,", Jan. 14, 2012.
  4. "El cuento chino de los mil días,", La República, September 8, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "El ‘cuento chino’ de la energía de Gecelca,", Semana, July 11, 2015.
  6. "Entró en funcionamiento termoeléctrica Gecelca 3 en Puerto Libertador,", La Razón, September 16, 2015.
  7. Indígenas bloquean nuevamente vía a termoeléctrica Gecelca 3, La Razón, 5 Nov. 2016.
  8. Gecelca 3 thermoelectric plant suspended work in Puerto Libertador, El Telégrafo, 8 Nov. 2016.
  9. "Documento 3873 (p3 & p11)," CONPES, Nov 12, 2016
  10. "Resolución número 0951 de 2017, por la cual se autoriza a Gecelca S.A. E.S.P., para celebrar un empréstito interno con el Banco Davivienda S.A. hasta por la suma de doscientos cincuenta mil millones de pesos ($, moneda legal colombiana con Garantía de la Nación". Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito Público. April 10, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "Plan de Expansión de Referencia Generación Transmisión 2017-2031," UPME, Nov 30, 2017
  12. BOLETÍN ENERGÉTICO # 150, XM, Apr. 20, 2018
  13. BOLETÍN ENERGÉTICO # 165 (p 2), XM, Nov. 1, 2018
  14. "Proyecto Minero Las Palmeras". Gecelca S.A. Retrieved June 9, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "'La resistencia del indio' es caminar por el territorio minero | Tierra de Resistentes". Liga Contra el Silencio. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  16. "Gecelca to enter the energy market". ePower. 2020-10-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Planta termoeléctrica de Gecelca, importante proyecto de desarrollo en el Caribe". Región Caribe. 2020-11-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Colombia tiene las condiciones para una transición del sector eléctrico planeada y progresiva más allá del carbón, POLEN Transiciones Justas, August 2023
  19. "COMISIÓN INTERAMERICANA DE DERECHOS HUMANOS RESOLUCIÓN 27/2023" (PDF). Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. Retrieved May 3, 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.