The recent news of Costa Rica’s hydroelectric power contributing to 75 days of power generated without fossil fuels has been creating quite a buzz on the internet.
Let’s take a look at some of the energy initiatives, and what they mean for Costa Rica. The power generated by hydroelectric dams controlled by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has been the major contributor of not needing to use fossil fuels this year, and it has also contributed to lowering rates among people on the grid. Geothermal energy is the other source contributing to abandoning the reliance on fossil fuels.
These two are not the only means of producing renewable energy sources, and wind generation and solar panels are also finding their way into the electric production market. Of these different renewable technologies, it would appear that hydroelectric is current champ, but it may not be for long. Geothermal energy production has many scientist very excited about the potential for producing energy from heating water to the boiling point with heat from the crust of the earth.
The geothermal station at the Miravalles Volcano is the first of its kind in the country, and it stands as the model from which other geothermal power plants will be gauged by. As it stands currently, geothermal energy puts 15% of the power into the grid. The next geothermal plant is proposed to go into the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano area. With a total of six active volcanoes in Costa Rica, geothermal could overtake hydroelectric power production in a short amount of time.
As of Monday, March 16th, 2015, Costa Rica went 75 days without employing the use of the backup diesel generators at its hydroelectric power plants, and around 90% of the country’s energy is produced by renewable sources annually. Costa Rica will continue to build its infrastructure and renewable network with the goal being more than 100% power produced by renewable sources. The surplus energy will be sold to other countries in Central and South America, thus becoming a new market for Costa Rica.
The goal is yet to be achieved, but the recent 75 day marker is a milestone in the country’s initiatives, and will hopefully continue in to the future until the objective is reached.