Engie to switch Chile coal plant to energy storage

  • : Coal, Electricity
  • 24/04/11

French utility Engie is investing approximately $180mn to convert its former Tocopilla coal plant in northern Chile's Antofagasta region into a 116MW standalone battery energy storage system (BESS).

The BESS Tocopilla plant will be able to store 660MWh captured from significant solar and wind curtailment in the north, which has risen by almost 250pc to 1,699GWh in the year-to-date compared to a year ago.

The project involves installing 240 lithium ion-based containers on the former coal plant's site and making use of infrastructure synergies such as its transmission assets. Construction is scheduled to start in June.

BESS Tocopilla will have an average annual generation capacity of 211GWh, the equivalent of supplying almost 90,000 Chilean homes with power, avoiding the emission of 51,231 t/yr of carbon dioxide equivalent, said Engie.

Engie disconnected the 268MW Tocopilla coal and fuel oil plant in September 2022. Its 394MW combined-cycle Tocopilla gas plant, part of the same complex, continues to operate.

Engie is the country's fourth-largest generator with an installed capacity of almost 2.5GW. BESS Tocopilla is its fourth industrial-scale storage project in Chile, one of which is already in operation and another two under construction.

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