Cochrane power station

From Global Energy Monitor

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This article is part of the Global Energy Monitor coverage of Chile and coal
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The Cochrane power station is a 550-megawatt (MW) plant in Mejillones in Chile’s northern region, Antofagasta, Region II. It was jointly developed by Chile's AES Gener (60% share) and Mitsubishi (40%), at a total cost of US $1.3 billion.

Location

The map below shows the location of the plant, adjacent to the existing Angamos power station.

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Background

The project received environmental approval in September 2009.[1] A consortium of Japanese and Korean financial institutions has guaranteed up to US$1 billion in funding.[2]

Construction of the plant began in April 2013. According to AES Gener's website, the Cochrane plant was to be constructed adjacent to AES Gener's Angamos power station to take advantage of existing port and coal stockpiling facilities.[3]

The power generated by Cochrane's two coal-fired units will supply copper mines in Chile, with commercial operations expected to start in 2016.[4] In October 2014, at a press conference covered by the trade publication Electricidad, AES Gener's Vice President of Engineering Luis Knaak said that the first unit would be completed by May 2016 and the second by October 2016.[5] A report from Chile's Corporación de Bienes de Capital (CBC) stated that construction on the Cochrane plant was 48% complete as of 2015.[6]

The power station was fully commissioned in October 2016.[7]

In July 2020, Mitsubishi sold its 40% stake in the Cochrane power station to Daelim Energy, a subsidiary of the South Korea-based Daelim Group.[8][9]

In April 2021, AES Gener changed its name to AES Andes.[10][11]

In September 2022, the Chilean Superintendency of Environment (SMA) initiated sanctioning proceedings against Cochrane on four charges, including a severe instance of noncompliance with the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA). In addition to other structural and reporting infractions, an unauthorized underwater outfall was found to be discharging hot water from the facility into the bay, risking ocean pollution and other impacts. Cochrane was given 10 business days to present a Compliance Program (PDC) and 15 days to restructure its releases, after which the sanctioning process would resume.[12]

Financing

In March 2013, a financing agreement for the plant was closed. US$1,055 million in loans were provided by MUFG Bank, HSBC, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Korea Finance Corporation, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and BancoEstado. US$295 million in equity was provided by AES Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation. HSBC acted as the financial advisor.[13] In October 2019, a refinancing agreement for the plant was closed. US$915 million was provided by Goldman Sachs, HSBC, SMBC Nikko Securities, and LarrainVial.[14]

Planned Phase-out

According to the Chilean Ministry of Energy's national decarbonization plan, announced by President Sebastián Piñera in June 2019, both units of Cochrane power station will cease operations no later than 2040. Plant owner AES Gener agrees to consult with the government every five years to update details of the plan, taking into account system stability requirements, energy costs, and environmental goals.[15]

As of June 2022, a specific decommissioning date for the Cochrane plant was yet to be determined.[11] AES Gener's 2019 annual report listed a contract expiration date of 2030 to 2037 for its Cochrane units[16], while Chile's Ministry of Energy did not include the Cochrane power station in its list of plants to be disconnected in 2019-2024.[17] In a July 2021 interview with the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, AES Corp CEO Andrés Gluski hinted at the possibility of advancing the shutdown timeline for AES Andes' remaining coal plants in Chile from 2040 to 2030, but did not commit to specific shutdown dates for either the Cochrane plant or AES's Nueva Tocopilla power station.[18]

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 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.[19][20] 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.[21]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Empresa Eléctrica Cochrane SpA[17], Daelim Energy[8]
  • Parent company: AES Andes S.A. (formerly AES Gener) 30%[10] , Toesca Infraestructura II 30%[22][23], Daelim Group 40%[8]
  • Location: Mejillones, Region II, Antofagasta, Chile
  • Coordinates: -23.06341, -70.365837 (approximate)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross Capacity: 550 MW[16]
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Start year: 2016[7]
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: US$1,970 million in debt from MUFG Bank, HSBC, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Korea Finance Corporation, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, BancoEstado, Goldman Sachs, SMBC Nikko Securities, and LarrainVial; US$295 million in equity from AES Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation[13][14]

Articles and resources

References

  1. "Ficha del Proyecto: EIA Central Termoeléctrica Cochrane,", SEIA, September 2, 2009.
  2. "Chile AES Gener in loan deal of up to $1 bln for power project,", Reuters, March 2013.
  3. "AES Gener iniciará construccion de planta termoelectrica Cochrane,", AES Gener, March 2013.
  4. "First Independent Power Project in Chile," Mitsubishi, Nov. 30, 2012.
  5. "Termoeléctrica Cochrane presenta un avance de 53%," Electricidad, October 7, 2014.
  6. "El 45% de los proyectos eléctricos para quinquenio 2015-2019 está postergado,", La Tercera, July 20, 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "AES Gener puso en operación segunda parte de Central Cochrane," Revistaei, October 13, 2016
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Fitch Affirms Cochrane at 'BBB-'; Outlook Stable". Fitch Ratings. July 22, 2020.
  9. "Japonesa Mitsubishi abandona sociedad con AES Gener y deja el negocio eléctrico en Chile". Electricidad. July 20, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "La energía de AES Gener es ahora AES Andes | AES Chile". AES Chile. May 4, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "AES Accelerates 1 GW of Coal Plant Retirements in Chile". POWER Magazine. July 7, 2021.
  12. "Antofagasta: SMA formula cargos a termoeléctrica Cochrane por incumplimientos asociados al emisario submarino y norma de Riles". Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente, Gobierno de Chile. 5 septiembre 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2022. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Preview of Cochrane Coal-fired Power Plant (550MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Preview of Cochrane Coal-Fired Power Plant (550MW) Refinancing | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Plan de Descarbonización y Retiro de Centrales Termoeléctricas a Carbón en Chile, Anuncio del gobierno de Sebastián Piñera" (PDF). Chile Sustentable. June 4, 2019.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "2019 Annual Report (page 23)" (PDF). AES Gener. March 1, 2019.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "3Q-2020 Earnings Report (p 11)" (PDF). Empresa Eléctrica Cochrane SpA. December 2020.
  18. "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.
  19. "AES Gener: Energía Sucia: Afectación de Derechos Humanos e Incumplimiento de la Regulación Eléctrica y Ambiental" (PDF). Chile Sustentable / Alianza Chao Carbón. December 2021.
  20. "Minuta Relativa al Registro de Varamientos de Carbón en Caleta Ventanas Ano 2020" (PDF). Fundación Terram. February 2021.
  21. "Tras anuncio de Engie de salida total del carbón para 2025, ambientalistas apuntan a Aes Gener y Colbún". El Mostrador. April 28, 2021.
  22. "Cochrane Thermoelectric Plant". Toesca. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  23. "AES Gener has sold a preferred stock minority stake in Empresa Eléctrica Cochrane to Toesca Infraestructura II". Oaklins. August 2020.

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