Costa Rica remains on stunning renewable energy path

Costa Rica remains on stunning renewable energy path Miravalles V - Ormat unit, Costa Rica (source: Ormat Technologies)
Alexander Richter 8 May 2015

Costa Rica pushes forward with their 100% renewable target thanks to geothermal as a base-load power source.

Costa Rica has been making the news lately mostly due to the impressive track record in renewable energy generation, when last month official sources proudly declared that in the first 3 months of  2015, 100 percent of the country’s energy supply came from from renewables.

According to IPS, “The country as such, along with its energy and environmental policies, has decided that it wants its energy development to be based on renewable sources,” Javier Orozco, the head of ICE’s System Expansion Process, told Tierramérica.

But this Central American country of 4.5 million people still depends partially on fossil fuels. The official said “we use thermal energy generation as a complement because renewables depend on the climate and you can’t guarantee that there will always be wind or water.”

“In our country, we build thermal plants to keep them turned off. Our aim is to have thermal plants that are turned off most of the time,” Orozco said.

In order to address the variability of renewables, the country is relying on developing its geothermal potential since it is a base-load power source (available 24/7)

The same source states that last year’s large petroleum bill was caused by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, a cyclical climate phenomenon that affects weather patterns around the world, which hit Central America hard and triggered one of the worst droughts in over half a century. The country is thus exploring the limits of renewable energies and the possibility of generating 100 percent clean energy is on the table, as part of a strategy based especially on geothermal power.

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Source: IPS Terramerica