9 October 2008 – Construction has resumed on the controversial Bocamina II coal-burning power plant in the southern Chilean city of Coronel.
The electricity-generating facility is owned by multinational Endesa. Coronel is 30 km from Chile’s second-largest city, Concepción (Region VIII).
The Santiago Times reported Coronel city authorities temporarily shut down construction of the plant in September, saying the project was causing damage not foreseen in the company’s environmental impact study, which environmental authorities have already approved. But the company’s appeal to a local court resulted in a judicial order allowing Endesa to proceed with construction.
Endesa, a Spanish-Italian company, is building Bocamina II as an extension of its original Bocamina power plant.
Local residents have protested the new energy project, claiming the existing facility already severely contaminates the region, adversely affecting their health.
Many families are demanding compensation to allow them to relocate elsewhere. Earlier this year, 105 Coronel families living close to the facility reached a settlement with Endesa after beginning legal action. Now another 250 families are seeking similar compensation.
The Regional Environmental Commission (COREMA) has asked Endesa to submit a study to determine whether the construction of Bocamina II will damage nearby residences.
Endesa hopes to complete construction of Bocamina II in 2010. The generator will supply 350 MW to Chile’s central energy grid.