The Compostilla thermal power plant is located in Leon province, Spain. Image courtesy of Endesa S.A.
Endesa collaborates with the University of Leon to identify business development plans at the Compostilla power plant site. Image courtesy of Endesa S.A.
Spain closed down 26 unprofitable coal mines in December 2018. Image courtesy of bartb_pt.

The 1GW Compostilla thermal power plant located at Cubillos del Sil, Leon province, Spain, is set to be permanently closed in June 2020.

Owned and operated by  Spain’s biggest electric utility company Endesa, the coal-fired power station has been operating since 1961. It was developed with 1.3GW installed capacity comprising five coal-fired units commissioned between 1961 and 1985.

The first two 141MW units of the plant were closed in 2008 and 2016, respectively. Endesa applied to the Spanish authorities to close the remaining three 350MW units in December 2018.

The decommissioning process is expected to be started in the second half of 2020 and completed in four years.

Compostilla power plant decommissioning background

Spain shut-down operations at 26 unprofitable coal mines in December 2018 following a European Union (EU) directive in 2016.

According to the EU directive, Spain is required to meet one-fifth of its gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The EU has committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

Endesa decided to close two of its most polluting coal-fired power plants including Compostilla and the 1GW Teruel power plant in 2018. The reasons behind the closure decision were tightened emissions regulations, the paucity of domestic coal supply, and the quantum of investment required for environmental upgrades on old coal-fired units.

Further, increased carbon emissions price led to Endesa’s decision in September 2019 for closing down all of its remaining coal-fired power plants.

Compostilla power plant location and site details

The Compostilla thermal power plant is located on a 330ha-site in the municipal districts of Cubillos del Sil and Ponferrada, in the León province of Spain.

The site is located at a distance of 115km from the Leon city by road, while the capital city Madrid is 397km away.

The water required for the power plant operation is sourced from the nearby Barcena reservoir constructed across Sil River. The plant receives coal supply from the El Bierzo and Villablino mines.

Compostilla thermal power plant make-up

The three operational units of the Compostilla thermal power plant, named Compostilla Unit-3, 4 and 5, were commissioned in 1972, 1981 and 1985, respectively.

The unit three comprises a boiler and a 330MW steam turbine supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The units four and five have 350MW capacity each and are equipped with boilers from Foster Wheeler (now Wood Group) and steam turbines from MHI.

The units four and five were fitted with flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) systems between 2005 and 2008.

Contractors involved

INITEC Energía provided engineering, construction supervision, and start-up services for all the five coal-fired units of the Compostilla thermal power plant.

MHI, in consortium with Duro Felguera (DF), was contracted for the design and installation of FGD systems at units four and five of the Compostilla power station.

INITEC Energía was also engaged for the engineering, construction supervision, and start-up services for the FGD units.

Compostilla power plant decommissioning details

The Compostilla power plant decommissioning will include the dismantling and demolition of all equipment, structures, and facilities, as well the internal cleaning of boilers, oil lines, and the FGD plant equipment.

The ash landfills will be closed after demolition of the plant.

Compostilla power plant site redevelopment

In July 2019, Endesa tied-up with the University of Leon to identify various business development alternatives in El Bierzo following the closure of the Compostilla power plant.

The plant owner also called for business proposals to redevelop the 330ha site in October 2019.

Endesa is studying a plan to construct 300MW solar power projects and a 20MW wind power farm with an estimated investment of £220m (€260m) in the Villameca area in order to develop the region close to the Compostilla thermal plant.