In 2015, the vast majority of Costa Rica’s electricity came from renewable sources, with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) stating that it achieved “99 percent renewable electricity generation” throughout the year. The state electricity agency also pointed out that, for 285 days in 2015, the country’s grid was 100% powered by renewable sources.
Ultimately, Costa Rica is the first in the world to power their country for so long without the use of fossil fuels, and electricity prices are set to tumble between 7% and 15%.
Of course, location and size helps to make this process easier. Costa Rica takes advantage of its river system and heavy tropical rainfalls, with three-quarters of the country’s electricity generated by hydroelectric plants. The remaining quarter is generated through wind, geothermal, biomass, and solar sources. The downside to hydropower is, of course, that it requires consistent rainfall.
See the video below to learn more about how hydropower works.
Despite a year that was exceptionally dry, Costa Rica is said to be ahead of its clean energy targets that it set for itself. This success in moving towards clean energy has made the small Central American an example for other nations looking to do that same.
Luis Pacheco, Costa Rica’s electricity division chief, said that the nation is “closing 2015 with renewable electricity milestones that have put us in the global spotlight.” With a new $2.3 billion hydroelectric plant coming online in 2016, Pacheco predicts greater results for the nation’s renewable energy program.
That said, the country still relies on petroleum for transportation. And as was previously mentioned, we don’t mean to imply that such changes could be so easily instituted in other locations. With a population under 5 million and no major industry, Costa Rica obviously uses much less power than most developed countries. On top of this, its geography houses tightly packed volcanoes, which help with power, but the results are still inspiring.