Chile declares start of coal power phase-out

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Climate Home News

Chile plans to expand wind and solar power generation to replace coal (Pic: Flickr/Miguel MS)

Chile will phase out coal power generation, president Michelle Bachelet declared on Wednesday.

The energy ministry has secured an agreement with its major utilities not to build any more coal plants, unless they are fitted with technology to pump the emissions underground.

A working group will develop a plan to replace existing coal capacity, Bachelet said. The fuel generated 35% of the South American country’s electricity in 2015.

Tweeting the announcement, environment minister Marcelo Mena described it as “the beginning of the end of coal”.

While no end date was given for burning coal, the announcement aligns Chile with a group of countries committed to closing down one of the dirtiest forms of power generation.

The UK and Canada are leading the campaign to “power past coal”. As of December 2017, they had signed up 24 other countries, including France, Mexico and New Zealand, but not including Chile. Eight sub-national governments and 24 companies also joined.

“Congratulations Chile, looking forward to welcoming you to the Powering Past Coal Alliance,” the Marshall Islands environment minister David Paul tweeted.

Chile’s electricity companies pledged in the joint statement to deliver the country’s goal to generate 70% of power from renewable sources by 2050.

Citing cost reductions in wind and solar power, the industry “sees an increasingly renewable future, where thermoelectric generation will no longer be the main source of energy,” reported Business News Americas.

Source: Climate Home News. Reproduced with permission.  

  • Joe

    If President Michelle can say …”the beginning of the end of coal”…then what is stopping Two Tongues Turnbull? Chile is going gangbusters with wind, solar and storage and not afraid to tell the Fossil Fuellers that time is up. If only we / Australia had a PM like President Michelle, yes. The mention of Canada and Powering Past Coal Alliance is rather ironic. It is Canada that has visited that Environmental Abomination upon the world with their ‘Tar Sands’…it doesn’t get any worse than Canada and it’s ‘Tar Sands’.

    • Robert Comerford

      Any positives Canada makes are far outweighed by the extraction of the filthy tar sands.
      Chile… way ahead of Oz!

  • DJR96

    I’ve been saying for some time that Australia will not build a new coal-fired power station ever again. There is no justification in any way shape or form to do so.
    So it would be very easy for Australia to make the same declaration.
    And it might finally start getting a few people still living in last century to think forward, and we can all move forward then.

    • shane

      the only guarantee is to vote the Liberals out. They are too closely aligned with the (Coal luvin) Minerals Council of Australia