USEA – The Road to a Just Energy Transition: A Case Study from Chile
As more utilities worldwide close or reduce their fossil-based generation facilities in a shift toward net zero emissions, there is a need to address the resulting human impact from those decisions. Fossil-fueled power plants that are closed and replaced by renewable energy sources must address the social implications resulting from the displacement and reassignment of the current staff at the closing facilities.
A Just Energy Transition is increasingly prioritized when developing climate change mitigation models that effectively integrate funding mechanisms, advanced technologies, regulatory frameworks, and sustainability.
Chile’s energy policy has advanced in recent years, with wind and solar now generating more power than coal for the first time on record. With an increased focus on renewables, the country is targeting 80% renewable electricity by 2030, 100% zero emissions by 2050, and is rapidly closing the country’s sizable fossil fuel generation fleet.
Enel Chile S.A., the largest electric utility company in Chile, became the first company in Chile to stop using coal generation in September 2022. For the full decarbonization of its generation mix, Enel Chile implemented a Just Energy Transition strategy, incorporating technological, social, and environmental solutions to ensure that the shutdown of the company’s coal fleet maximized value for the plants’ employees, contractors, and the local communities.
Enel has effectively moved forward with closing all coal plants and introduced programs that provide jobs and training for displaced staff.