Daily Management Review

Costa Rica – Completely Powered by Clean Energy


Hydropower is Costa Rica’s biggest source of energy.

Costa Rica, a South American nation has survived for continuously 75 days this year only on renewable energy. The milestone achieved by the nation indicates its remarkable efforts to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases. The country relished plenty rainfall in January, February and also in the first half of March, thereby providing abundant water to the four main hydroelectric power plants facilitating them to generate relatively high amount of electricity than other months. Collectively, the solar, wind, geothermal, biomass projects along with hydro power, the renewable energy was sufficient enough to light up all the houses, businesses as well as factories across the nation.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), clean energy accounts for almost 21% of world’s power generation. The climate expert emphasize that this percentage should climb steeply to 80% of global energy requirements by 2050 in order to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and save the planet from global warming. International Energy Agency projections state that all the countries will be required to spend $1 trillion in addition over the next couple of decades to reach the target of $44 trillion.

Costa Rica is a small South American nation with less than 5 million of population and does not even possess a huge manufacturing industry that would require huge amount of electricity. The national landscape is filled with volcanoes and other natural features that offers them vast amount of clean energy.
The worldwide spending on renewable energy projects is significantly on a rise, mainly driven by China. Iceland also gets almost all of its power from clean energy resources and nearly 85% of its energy requirements are borne by hydroelectric and geothermal sources. In addition, three more European nations including Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria have already set their targets for 2020 renewable energy.

Presently, clean energy sources are able to meet 94% of Costa Rica power requirements. The government is planning to launch new geothermal projects to confirm that the nation does not depend upon fossil fuels in near future. Hence the government has sanctioned geothermal project worth $958 million in mid 2014. On completion, the first plant will start generating 55 MW of electricity sufficient to provide power to 55,000 houses.  In addition, 2 more 50 MW geothermal plants will be established soon. The government has sanctioned these projects because, it is essentially important that the nation does not get completely reliant only on hydropower. Droughts are considered as a big risk because it can adversely impact the power supply of the country. Moreover, the hydroelectric dams are vulnerable to ecological downsides including riparian ecosystems and passing fish.

It is however good news for the nation the energy is getting diversified to geothermal sources as there are apparent downsides for being too much dependent upon hydroelectricity, which can be easily hampered by seasonal changes in the flow of water. The government’s decision not to exploit oil deposits alongside the Caribbean coast of the nation is a strong sign of Costa Rica’s commitment to clean energy.

Tags : Costa Rica