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Costa Rica reports near 100% renewable energy electricity supply and electricity export

Las Pailas II geothermal power plant, Costa Rica (source: Grupo ICE)
Alexander Richter 4 Aug 2019

With record electricity generation in May 2019, Costa Rica now derives nearly 100% of its electricity from renewable energies, including geothermal energy, which accounts for around 12.9% of electricity generation.

During the 31 days of the month of May 2019, Costa Rica generated 984.19 GWh of electricity, the highest figure in its history so far and from which, 99.99% came from renewable sources.

As reported by the National Energy Control Center (Cence), the generation figure in the National Electric System (SEN) during the previous month exceeded all historical monthly counts.

Therefore, the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) suspended the purchase of energy from the Regional Electricity Market (MER) from the first week of May, and instead, from the 11th day on, it began selling electricity to the Central American nations sustained.

The milestone becomes more relevant because it was reached during the month of May, in full transition between the dry and rainy season; and since it is generally in October that the country reaches the largest electricity generation of the year. The previous record was October 2017 with 976.84 gigawatt hours.

“This achievement is the result of the planning and optimization of resources of the national matrix, which protects its regulatory reservoirs in dry periods – like the one just faced – while increasing the geothermal quota. To this, eventually, the import of electricity and, as a last resort, thermal backup , “said ICE.

Despite the strong dry season that the country went through, ICE said that the renewable generation of the electricity system remains high: 97.96% to date and with a tendency to increase during the second half of the year due to the intensification of rainfall.

According to the report of the National Energy Control Center, during May 984.19 GWh of electricity were generated, of which 80.04% came from the force of the water; 12.9% by geothermal energy, 6.99% by wind and 0.06% by biomass and solar energy. Only 0.01% was generated with polluting thermal backup, following the reliability tests of the plants.

In July this year, ICE inaugurated its Las Pailas II geothermal power plant, adding 55 MW in baseload renewable power generation capacity.

Source: Delfino.cr