Chile court halts 350-MW Endesa plant over fishermen's appeal

SANTIAGO Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:59am EST

SANTIAGO Dec 17 (Reuters) - A Chilean appeals court has halted operations at energy company Endesa Chile's 350 megawatt Bocamina II plant at the request of local fishermen, who say the coal-fired complex has polluted the area.

The Concepcion Court of Appeals is poised to issue a ruling in two to three months. The dispute could well end up in the Supreme Court, based on recent history.

Local fishermen say the plant, located in the Southern Bio Bio region, has harmed local fish species and saturated the air. The community movement seeking to shut down the plant includes one of the region's senators, left-winger Alejandro Navarro.

Leading Chilean electricity generator Endesa said it hadn't been officially notified of the court decision. Its 128-megwatt Bocamina I plant isn't affected by the legal action.

The freeze is another blow to power generation in Chile, where increased opposition by social, indigenous and environmental groups have put many projects on ice.

An estimated 8,000 megawatts need to be added to Chile's 17,000 MW of power production capacity by the end of the decade, the government says.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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