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Chile announces early shutdown of four coal-fired power plants by 2025

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Chile’s president Sebastián Piñera on Tuesday announced the early closure of 4 coal-fired power plants by 2025, thereby expediting the decarbonization plan of the energy matrix, which contemplated their shutdown by 2040.

The announced measure seeks to reduce the emission of approximately 6 million tons of CO2, equivalent to removing over 2.4 million private vehicles from the country’s streets, detailed the Presidency in a press release.

, Chile announces early shutdown of four coal-fired power plants by 2025
Chile’s president Sebastián Piñera announced the early closure of 4 coal-fired power plants by 2025. (Photo internet reproduction)

With this advance in the plan, 1,097 MW of power would be retired and only 10 of the 28 coal-fired plants would remain in operation between 2026 and 2040, equivalent to 20% of the current installed capacity.

Specifically, the plants covered by the early shutdown are Angamos 1 and 2, located in the northern city of Mejillones, in the Antofagasta region; and Nueva Ventanas and Campiche, located in the Puchuncaví sector, in the Valparaíso region, according to a press release by the President’s Office.

These are places of high industrial concentration close to populated areas, called “sacrificed zones,” where emissions saturate and violate air quality standards, which have prompted different decontamination plans.

Inhabiting these areas may have serious consequences for the health of communities, and there have been several incidents of intoxication caused by waste released into the environment or stranded on beaches, also affecting children and adolescents.

With the measure announced, Puchuncaví will no longer have coal-fired power plants by 2025 and Mejillones will have retired almost 80% of its coal-fired power plants.

“This is excellent news for the areas’ residents, which must be technically ratified to ensure that Chileans receive energy at the lowest possible price and in a safe way,” said Minister of Energy and Mining Juan Carlos Jobet, who participated in the announcement alongside Piñera.

The new schedule must be approved by the National Electricity Coordinator and the National Energy Commission.

The maximum capacity of coal-fired power plants in Chile’s National Electric System as of 2018 was 5,526 MW with the 28 generating units. After this new announcement, with the 10 plants to remain operational, there will only be 1,965 MW of coal generated.

In 2019, the Chilean government committed to close all coal plants by 2040, an original schedule now modified.

When the plan was announced, which considered the 28 plants operating at that time, it was divided into two phases: the first contemplated the shutdown of 8 plants by 2024, and the other 20 by 2040.

Now this plan has advanced the first phase by 3 years: by December this year, 8 plants will have been closed, and another 18 by 2025, according to official information.

Last April, Jobet had announced that 50% of coal-fired plants will have been retired by 2025.

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