Punta Alcalde power station

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The Punta Alcalde power station was a proposed 740-megawatt (MW) coal-fired thermoelectric project in the coastal area of Huasco in Chile's Atacama region.


The map below shows Punta Alcalde, the approximate location where the plant was to be built.

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Sponsored by Endesa, the $1.4 billion Punta Alcalde power project called for construction of two 370-megawatt coal-fired units in Chile's Atacama region, close to Antofagasta Minerals' Los Pelambres mine, Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama, and Lumina Copper's Caserones mine, among others.[1]

In June 2012 a 7-2 vote of the regional environmental commission (Comisión de Evaluación Ambiental) blocked Endesa's proposal, citing the project's potential to cause water and air pollution.[2] However, the suspension was lifted in December 2012 by a Chilean ministerial group. The proposed project was expected to have the capacity to supply around 12 percent of energy demand in Chile's central energy grid.[1]

In August 2013 a Chilean appeals court blocked the construction of the project and ordered the ministerial group to reconvene and hear arguments against the Punta Alcalde project before reaching a new decision on the project's potential environmental impact.[3]

In January 2014, in a split decision, the Supreme Court of Chile cleared the way for the $1.4 billion project to proceed.[4] The decision was quickly denounced by fishermen and environmentalists, who cited the plant's potential to gravely damage coastal fisheries and marine life.[5] Following the ruling, Endesa announced that it expected to begin construction of the plant in 2015.[6]

In September 2014 Enel (Endesa's parent company) announced that the plant would be suspended due to a lack of demand for the electricity.[7]

In January 2015, Endesa confirmed that it had suspended development of the plant and its associated transmission line. As reported by Reuters, the company said that it had "evaluated adapting Punta Alcalde to make it a profitable and technologically sustainable project, but that the needed modifications would require important changes to the project's environmental permit, which could prove difficult for regulatory approval."[8]

In July 2015 Endesa said it would no longer build coal plants in Chile and confirmed that it had abandoned the Punta Alcalde coal project. Endesa is owned by Italian utility Enel, which in March 2015 announced an agreement with Greenpeace that it would phase out future investments in coal.[9][10]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Endesa
  • Parent company: Enel
  • Location: Punta Alcalde, Atacama region, Chile
  • Coordinates: -28.5702778, -71.3113889 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 370 MW[1]
    • Unit 2: 370 MW[1]
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous

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