Pacífico power station

From Global Energy Monitor


The Pacífico power station, also known as the Central Termoeléctrica Pacífico (CTP), was a proposed 350 MW coal station in the Tarapacá region of northern Chile.


The map below shows Punta Patache, the approximate location where the plant was to be built, 63km south of Iquique on Chile's Pacific coast.

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In 2009 the Chilean firm Río Seco (a subsidiary of Latin American investment fund Southern Cross Group) proposed the US$750 million plant, to be financed with equity and debt raised through project financing, with an anticipated start-up date of 2013.[1] There was strong public opposition to the project from the moment it entered the Environmental Impact Assessment phase, on the grounds that the plant would cause damage to health and the environment.

In November 2009 the regional environmental commission COREMA rejected the plant due to non-compliance with regulations governing the intake and discharge of seawater. However, in October 2010 the governing council of the national environmental agency CONAMA decided in favor of the plant, allowing it to submit addenda to its proposal and begin the regional review process anew.[2] The project won approval from the regional CEA (Comisión de Evaluación Ambiental) in May 2011[3], a decision that was upheld in October 2011 by the Chilean Supreme Court[4] and again in September 2012 by a government committee headed by Chilean Environment Minister María Ignacia Benítez, despite continued strong opposition from local fishermen, environmentalists and other concerned citizens.[5]

In September 2014, the Chilean mining industry website Portal Minero announced that construction would begin on the Pacífico plant in the first half of 2015, and that the $1 billion project would take 44 months to complete.[6]

In April 2015, the newspaper La Estrella de Iquique noted that environmental approval had already been granted for construction of the plant and a series of 212 high tension towers designed to link the plant with northern Chile's electrical grid (SING), but that successful implementation of the project still depended on approval of the proposed Terminal Marítimo Puerto Pacífico coal terminal, which would supply coal to the plant.[7]

Meanwhile, as of July 2015, the plant remained stalled by administrative obstacles, with Iquique's Director of Public Works Héctor Varela Calle refusing to grant a preliminary building permit, prompting the project developers to request judicial intervention from Iquique's Court of Appeals.[8]

In January 2016 POSCO of South Korea won the EPC contract to construct the plant.[9]

In July 2016, Chile's environmental agency SEA approved the EIA for the Puerto Pacífico coal terminal[10], but the power plant project remained stalled. Chilean news sources reported that Iquique's municipal government had twice rejected project developer Río Seco's application for a construction permit[11], and that Chile's Supreme Court had declined to hear appeals from Río Seco aimed at removing this obstacle.[10]

Given the lack of subsequent coverage of the plant in the Chilean press, and the fact that the project is not mentioned in the Chilean government's June 2019 plan for the decommissioning of all coal-fired plants in Chile[12], the project appears to have been abandoned.

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Río Seco
  • Parent company: Southern Cross Group
  • Location: Punta Patache, Iquique, Tarapacá, Chile
  • Coordinates: -20.8052902, -70.1940697 (approximate)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Cancelled
    • Unit 2: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 175 MW
    • Unit 2: 175 MW
  • Type:
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Bituminous/Sub-bituminous
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. Nathan Crooks, "Río Seco to use equity, project financing for CTP," Business News Americas, Feb. 10, 2009.
  2. "Mapa de conflictos socioambientales en Chile: Central Termoeléctrica Pacífico (pp 32-33)". Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Chile). 2012.
  3. "Termoeléctricas Patache y Pacífico son aprobadas en Iquique a pesar del repudio ciudadano,", Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, May 8, 2011.
  4. "Corte Suprema da luz verde a construcción de termoeléctricas Pacífico y Patache,", Emol, Oct 19, 2011.
  5. "Aprueban construcción de termoeléctricas Patache y Pacífico: Organizaciones ambientalistas en alerta,", El Boyaldía, Sept 9, 2012.
  6. "En 2015 comenzarían la construcción de la Central Termoeléctrica Pacífico,", Portal Minero, September 30, 2014.
  7. "Este año partiría construcción de termoeléctrica en Patache," La Estrella de Iquique, April 7, 2015
  8. "El silencio municipal que entrampa a la central Pacífico," La Tercera, July 19, 2015.
  9. "Posco Engineering construirá la Central Termoeléctrica," Portal Minero, Jan 7, 2016
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Aprueban Estudio de Impacto Ambiental del terminal marítimo de Termoeléctrica Pacífico," Electricidad, July 21, 2016
  11. "Aprueban muelle para termoeléctrica," La Estrella, July 22, 2016
  12. "Plan de Descarbonización y Retiro de Centrales Termoeléctricas a Carbón en Chile, Anuncio del gobierno de Sebastián Piñera" (PDF). Chile Sustentable. June 4, 2019.

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External resources