9 September 2016

Costa Rica runs on 100% renewables for 2 months

A new report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has shown that Costa Rica ran on 100 per cent renewable energy for 76 days straight between June and August this year.

This marks the second time in two years that the Central American country has run for more than two months straight on renewables alone, and it brings the 2016 total to over 150 days.

According to Costa Rica’s National Centre for Energy Control (CENCE), the 16th June 2016 was the last day this year that fossil-fuels based energy was used by the national grid (data for September is unavailable as of yet).

The country has been powered by a mix of hydroelectric, geothermal, wind and solar energy, with hydroelectric power providing 80.27 per cent of the total electricity in August.

This milestone in hydroelectric power was helped by heavy rainfalls during the country’s monsoon season(May to November).

Geothermal plants contributed roughly 12.62 per cent of electricity generation in August, while wind turbines provided 7.1 percent, and solar just 0.01 per cent. 

Costa Rica has a total area of roughly 51, 000 square kilometres and a population of just 4.9 million people, meaning much less energy needs to be generated to cover demand than in much larger and more populated countries.

Even so, Costa Rica is planning further renewable energy installations, including a vast hydroelectric project named Reventazón due to be completed by the end of September.

Revantazón is the largest public infrastructure project in Central America, after the Panama Canal. The dam's five turbines will have a generating capacity of 305.5 megawatts - enough to power around 525,000 homes.

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