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New attempt at legislation allowing geothermal development in parks in Costa Rica

Rincon de la Vieja volcano, Costa Rica (source: flickr/ Jelle H., creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Jun 2017

New effort made on launching new legislation that would allow development of geothermal projects by the state-owned electricity utility in protected areas in Costa Rica.

A new legislative effort has been launched in Costa Rica. With the planned legislation it is proposed to allow the exploration and exploitation of geothermal resources in protected areas of the country, as reported by local media.

This topic has been popping up again and again over recent years, based on studies by the state-utility ICE (the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity), which estimates a potential of up to 875 MW of geothermal power generation capacity in Costa Rica.

The current installed geothermal power generation capacity in the country is at 195 MW.

The legislation 19,233 has been discussed several times over recent years and will now be discussed in the parliament. If approved, the geothermal capacity could seen a significant increase.

The aim fo the legislation is to “… give the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, exclusively, a special administrative authorization by the National System of Conservation Areas to exploit geothermal energy (heat from the earth) in national parks or other protected area such as Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Tenorio Volcano National Park, and the Arenal Volcano National Park,” said a report in the main Spanish-language daily La Nación.

In the promotion of the bill, it is expected that ICE pays a fee for utilising the geothermal resources for power generation. The annual royalty would be around two percent of the annual gross income that each geothermal project obtains from its electricity sales.

Source: Costa Rica Star