The entire city of Costa Rica has been running on 100 percent renewable energy for the past 75 days. With no intention to stop, it could be a record.
The Central American country has achieved a major milestone in mainstream clean energy usage. The city has been able to meet its entire power demand with renewable energy. Moreover, the seemingly unbelievable feat has been going on non-stop for the last 75 days, proclaimed the state-owned power supplier Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).
“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica. The country’s zero-emission milestone was enabled thanks to heavy rainfalls at four hydroelectric power facilities in the first quarter of 2015. These downpours have meant that, for the months of January, February and so far March, there has been no need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity.”
Instead of fossil fuels that are quite limited and cause significant pollution, Costa Rica has been powered primarily by hydropower — both pumped storage and run-of-the-river plants. In addition to the hydro-electric power stations, Costa Rica also has multiple other sources of renewable energy. Wind, biomass, and solar energy have been actively contributing to meet the city’s energy demand.
However, Costa Rica has another rich source of energy – volcanoes. Technically referred to as “geothermal energy,” it is derived from heat that Mother Earth spews out. This Central American country sits near one of the most active volcanoesthat have, time and again, crippled its transport. Nonetheless, when they are calm, the volcanoes spew out heat that can be harnessed to generate electricity.
It is important to note that Costa Rica isn’t a regular-sized nation. With a total area of just 51,000 square kilometers, it is dwarfed by many American cities. Moreover, it has a population of just 4.8 million. What’s more, its primary industries are tourism and agriculture, rather than heavy, more energy-intensive industries, such as mining or manufacturing. Hence, meeting its energy demand doesn’t involve high input.
Nonetheless, Costa Rica has indeed set an example of developing its electrical production techniques that harmoniously co-exist while offering affordable energy to its entire populace. As per a recent report, the country is “providing a household coverage rate of 99.4 percent at some of the region’s lowest prices.”
From a technical perspective, per last year’s record, hydropower accounted for 80 percent of all electricity production, while geothermal contributed an impressive 13 percent. Realizing the potential of renewable energy resources, Costa Rica is planning a slew of geothermal projects.
With renewable energy projects gaining steam, Costa Rica has certainly gained a landmark victory for advocates of eco-friendly energy sources.