El Peñón Plant was environmentally assessed by the National Environmental Commission and the public entities with environmental competency of the Atacama Region. It also obtained its corresponding RCA N° 269 on August 8, 2008.
Through Exempt Resolution N° 0214 of June 30, 2014, the Environmental Assessment Service of the Coquimbo Region decided, in relation to the Environmental Relevance Letter submitted by Enlasa Generación Chile S.A., that Enlasa is not required to enter into the Environmental Impact Assessment System. Basically, this letter rectifies the power and adds 8 new groups of generators that reach a firm power of 84.4 MW.
The El Peñón generation plant has an air quality monitoring plant classified, according to Decree N° 61, as a monitoring plant with community representation by the Ministerial Regional Secretary of Health, Coquimbo Region.
In this plant, located in the area of El Peñón, an equipment required to conduct the agreed monitoring was installed, which consisted of a sampler of breathable particulate material (PM-10), an analyzer of sulfur dioxide (SO2), an analyzer of carbon monoxide (C02), an analyzer of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an ozone analyzer (O3), and a weather plant.
It is important to point out that the PM-10 sampler and the gas analyzers comply with all the requirements put forth by the USEPA environmental agency.
In the other hand, the weather station is installed on a 10-meter mast, next to an air quality booth, and it has wind speed and direction sensors, relative humidity sensors, and temperature sensors. The data of those sensors are stored in a data-logger, which saves the means with a 15-minute frequency.
The Coquimbo Region is classified as one of the 25 areas with greatest biodiversity in the world. Within this plant abundance, shrubs are second in terms of representativeness. These are highly important species, because they contribute to slowing down soil erosion, they make an organic contribution, are used as shelter by local fauna, and serve as nurse plants because they promote the recruitment of seedlings. Among the 402 native shrubs in the region are the guayacán (Porlieria chilensis), classified as a vulnerable species by the Red Book of Native Flora and Priority Sites for their Conservation: Coquimbo Region (Squeo et al. 2001, in Spanish).
Currently, the environmental impact statement requires us to keep the seeds of this specimen, of which 75% were planted in the El Peñón plant and the rest in a nursery of the INIA INTIHUASI Institute, located in the town of Vicuña, Coquimbo Region, for future restocking and compliance in relation to the 975 specimens.