SANTIAGO Jan 29 Chile's environmental regulator
has ordered a temporary suspension of operations at Endesa
Chile's 128-megawatt Bocamina I coal-fired plant, the company
said on Wednesday.
The 15-day freeze, which can be extended, comes on the heels
of a ruling by an appeals court in December that halted the
neighboring 350 megawatt Bocamina II plant in Chile's southern
Bio Bio region.
The Supreme Court then ruled earlier this month in favor of
local fishermen who say Bocamina kills marine life and pollutes
"The company voluntarily halted operations at Bocamina I on
January 27 ... Endesa Chile is currently working on the
procedures the SMA regulator has requested to unfreeze Bocamina
I," the company said in a statement.
In a significant shift for business-friendly Chile, social
groups are successfully suing massive projects over threats to
glaciers, health, indigenous rights and biodiversity.
Projects that use coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil
fuel, have fared particularly poorly.
The suspension of energy complexes comes as copper
powerhouse Chile is scrambling to tame surging power prices and
bring fresh generation on line.
One of the big questions for Chile's power-hungry miners is
whether President-elect Michelle Bachelet, who takes office in
March, will be able to solve the looming energy crunch.