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Chile will close the country's coal-fired thermoelectric plants by 2025 if a draft bill is successfully passed in the National Congress.
On Tuesday, Chile's Chamber of Deputies approved an initiative that prohibits the construction and operation of new coal-fired thermoelectric plants in the country, establishing that existing pants will be shut down by 2025.
The draft bill, which still must be debated in the Senate, passed with 93 votes in favor, from the opposition, five against, and 47 abstentions—almost entirely from the governing party legislators.
The vote was received positively by environmental defenders. In that sense, the Chao Carbon coalition considered that this draft bill would serve justice to the so-called sacrifice zones—towns throughout the country that have been exposed for decades to extremely high levels of environmental pollution.
Se aprueba en la sala el proyecto q pone fin a las termoeléctricas de carbón!! Ahora pasa al Senado y espero avance y no se duerma. Aquí está en juego el medioambiente y la salud de las personas! #ChaoCarbonpic.twitter.com/jQbzS4ZLf2
— Camila Vallejo Dowling #APRUEBO (@camila_vallejo)
June 22, 2021
"The bill that puts an end to coal-fired thermoelectric plants is approved in the Chamber. Now it goes to the Senate, and I hope it advances and does not fall asleep. Here is at stake the environment and people's health! #ByeCarbon"
The Chilean Government has been considering a long-term decarbonization strategy for the nation's energy matrix. However, environmentalists are critical that the plan cannot be based on an agreement with private electric companies, leaving the closure of the thermoelectric plants to their goodwill.
Chile has 20 coal-fired thermoelectric plants with a total power potential of 5,529 MW, located in the cities of Coronel, Curico, Huasco, Hualpen, Iquique, Mejillones, Puchuncavi and Tocopilla. All of them face serious pollution problems.