The country aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2021 and is pushing to be a leader in sustainable energy solutions to combat climate change.
In 2015 Costa Rica made headlines for embracing renewable energy and achieving a total of 99% coverage with their clean energy sources. The company has been rapidly expanding their clean energy project recently building the Reventazon Hydroelectric Plant making it Central American’s second biggest infrastructure project second only to the Panama Canal.
“Costa Rica ended 2015 with 100 per cent renewable production on a total of 285 days.”
In 2014 the country was also running on 80% hydro-power with geothermal accounting for 10% and during the end of that year the country decided to stop burning dirty fuels for their main energy source. In 2016 Costa Rica pushed that even further using the most geothermal energy this year.
If Costa Rica reaches it’s goal of becoming carbon neutral it will have become the very first carbon neutral country in the world which could boost their economy and tourism as well as ensure a thriving environment.
The project is being constructed and maintained by ICE or the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad which is a government owned/monopolized energy facility that provides electricity to more than 98% of all Costa Ricans. The company plans to accept bids for individual energy contracts allowing up to 40MW of wind power and 100mw of hydropower according to The Costa Rica Star.
Renewable Energy Is Cheaper For Residents
Residents are thrilled that they’re able to pay less for their new energy. In 2015 Costa Ricans saw their energy prices drop by 12% over the year, prices expect to fall even further in the incoming years. The country also incentivizes fair water distribution and helping others in their community giving land owners paybacks if they make efforts to divert water to help others in the area.
It’s Still A Work In Progress
As The Guardian notes, the country still relies on fossil fuels for transportation, shipping and equipment. Much of the renewable energy also comes from dams and geothermal plants which aren’t reliable sources since their effectiveness tends to change along with the changing weather. During drought, for example, there is significantly less water compared to a season that had an abundance of rain (which is usually when the country’s able to remain fully supplement it’s energy needs through renewables).
There’s still some improvements to be made with wind and solar as far as making it effective and making it safer, especially for a tropical region like Costa Rica. Constructing current technology for both would have harmful consequences to wildlife and for the environment as they’d take up a ton of Costa Rican property and potentially force the destruction of valuable jungles and forests.