Ventanas power station

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Ventanas power station is a 875-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Ventanas, Puchuncaví, Chile. The plant is operated by AES Andes S.A.

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the plant, which is near Puchuncaví in Chile's Valparaíso region.

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Background

The four-unit Ventanas project dates back to 1964, when the first 120 MW unit (Ventanas 1) was installed. This was followed by 220 MW Ventanas 2 in 1977. 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. All four units are fueled by subbituminous coal imported via the attached coal port.[1][2]

In April 2021, plant owner AES Gener changed its name to AES Andes.[3][4]

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.[5][6] Plant owner AES Gener confirmed decommissioning dates of November 2022 and May 2024 in its 2019 annual report.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10][11] In July 2022, Chile's National Energy Commission passed a resolution officially authorizing definitive shutdown of Unit 1.[12]

As of mid-2020, Unit 2 remained on schedule for retirement in December 2022.[13] 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.[14][15][16]

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.[17]

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.[3][18][19][20]

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.[21][22] The plant was brought online in March 2013.[23]

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.[24][25][26]

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.[27] More than 100 residents in the surrounding area - mostly children - fell ill, and classes were suspended at local schools.[28] According to an AES Andes spokesperson, the SMA conducted a site inspection and determined that the power plant was not responsible for the incident.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32][33] 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.[34]

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.[35]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: AES Andes S.A. (formerly AES Gener)[8][4]
  • Parent company: AES[8]
  • Location: Ventanas, Puchuncaví, Valparaíso, Chile
  • Coordinates: -32.7512, -71.4825 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Retired (1964-2020)[1][9]
    • Unit 2: Operating (1977)[1]
    • Unit 3: Operating (2010)[1]
    • Unit 4: Operating (2013)[1]
  • Gross Capacity:
  • Type: Subcritical[1]
  • Coal Type: Subbituminous[1]
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: Unit 4: Credit Agricole Group and BNP Paribas Fortis[35]

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Ventana Coal Power Plant Chile," Global Energy Observatory, accessed March 2014
  2. "Complejo Termoeléctrico Ventanas | Proyecto "Lo que los Conflictos Producen..."". Universidad de los Lagos. July 7, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Memoria anual Integrada 2021 (pp 181, 265)" (PDF). AES Andes. April 5, 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "La energía de AES Gener es ahora AES Andes | AES Chile". AES Chile. May 4, 2021.
  5. Chile to close eight coal-fired stations by 2024, IEEFA, Jun., 2019
  6. Gobierno anunció el cierre de dos termoeléctricas a carbón en Puchuncaví, El Observador, Jun. 4, 2019
  7. "Memoria Integrada 2019 (p 237)" (PDF). AES Gener. 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Engie, AES to retire 674 MW of coal capacity in Chile earlier than agreed, Renewables Now, Dec. 10, 2019
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Puchuncaví: Concretan retiro de central Termoeléctrica a carbón Ventanas 1". MásNoticia. 2020-12-29.
  10. "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.
  11. "Filial de norteamericana AES pide autorización para retirar definitivamente central a carbón en Chile". Diario Financiero Chile. June 17, 2022.
  12. "CNE fue informada sobre el retiro de tres unidades generadoras a carbón". Comisión Nacional de Energía. August 1, 2022.
  13. "Cómo se viene el calendario de cierre de las próximas centrales termoeléctricas a carbón". Electricidad. June 1, 2020.
  14. "Coordinador Eléctrico propone postergar a 2023 la salida de termoeléctricas Ventanas II y Bocamina II". Fundación Terram. December 3, 2021.
  15. "Plantean retrasar retiro de Bocamina II y Ventanas II para reducir suministro con diésel". Induambiente. December 3, 2021.
  16. "Complejo escenario energético obligará definiciones de gobierno en Chile". La República. January 26, 2022.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 "Plan de Descarbonización y Retiro de Centrales Termoeléctricas a Carbón en Chile, Anuncio del gobierno de Sebastián Piñera" (PDF). Chile Sustentable. June 4, 2019.
  18. "Ministerio de Energía anuncia histórico cierre adelantado de centrales a carbón". Ministerio de Energía. July 8, 2021.
  19. "AES Accelerates 1 GW of Coal Plant Retirements in Chile". POWER Magazine. July 7, 2021.
  20. "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.
  21. "AES Gener recibe autorizacion definitiva para retomar construccion de termoelectrica campiche". Diario UChile. August 16, 2010.
  22. "PROYECTO: COMPLEJO TERMOELÉCTRICO VENTANAS" (PDF). Universidad de los Lagos. July 2016.
  23. "AES Gener confirma inicio operaciones de central Ventanas IV para el próximo mes". Minería Chilena. February 27, 2013.
  24. "AES GENER reconoce falla en Ventanas que coincide con mortandad de peces en la costa,", El Ciudadano, December 2013.
  25. "Ventanas: Nueva varazón de sardinas en zona de termoeléctrica de AES Gener". La Nación. December 28, 2013.
  26. "Piden no autorizar operación de Central Campiche hasta determinar su responsabilidad en muerte de sardinas en Ventanas,", Revista Electricidad, December 2013.
  27. "SMA dicta medidas provisionales contra el Complejo Termoeléctrico Ventanas". Revista Electricidad. June 7, 2022.
  28. "Intoxicación masiva en un cordón industrial chileno: "Está todo contaminado: suelo, agua y aire"". El País. June 15, 2022.
  29. "Pollution in Quintero and Puchuncaví: government instructs provisional measures and AES Chile rules out responsibility". The LA News. June 8, 2022.
  30. Empresa enfrenta nueva demanda de pescadores por vertimiento de carbón en Puchuncaví, Biobio Chile, Apr. 25, 2018
  31. Once again on the street: women demonstrate against polluting companies in Chile, Sputnik News, Apr. 19, 2019
  32. "AES Gener: Energía Sucia: Afectación de Derechos Humanos e Incumplimiento de la Regulación Eléctrica y Ambiental" (PDF). Chile Sustentable / Alianza Chao Carbón. December 2021.
  33. "Minuta Relativa al Registro de Varamientos de Carbón en Caleta Ventanas Ano 2020" (PDF). Fundación Terram. February 2021.
  34. "Tras anuncio de Engie de salida total del carbón para 2025, ambientalistas apuntan a Aes Gener y Colbún". El Mostrador. April 28, 2021.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Preview of AES Campiche Coal-Fired Power Plant (270MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-07.

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External resources