Wednesday, 12 August 2015

High five to Costa Rica!

Costa Rica produced all of its electricity from renewables for months without a break at the start of the year. In March, the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) reported that the country hadn’t had to burn fossil fuels to supply the grid with electricity for the first two and a half months in 2015, a stretch that had never been previously attained by any nation, as reported by IFL Science.

The country’s clean streak is predominantly attributable to heavy rains experienced this year, which kept four of the main hydroelectric power stations busy. In fact, these have been churning out so much energy that virtually all of 2015’s electricity demands have been met through these plants, according to Quartz. The remainder of the country’s grid requirements have been met through a combination of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy.

Costa Rica is determined to become carbon-neutral by 2021, which seems an achievable goal given that the country is currently meeting around 94% of its energy needs from renewables. Around 68% is sourced from hydroelectric power plants, followed by geothermal energy that contributes about 15%. This dedication to clean energy combined with the country’s broader environmental policies has meant that Costa Rica has been consistently ranked in the top five eco-friendly countries worldwide according to The Telegraph.

Although what Costa Rica is achieving is something to aspire towards, it won’t be easy for many countries to follow in their footsteps. The country is adorned with a number of active volcanoes that allow for geothermal projects, such as the $958 million endeavour approved last year. Costa Rica also experiences high rainfall and features a mountainous landscape, both of which are ideal for the generation of renewable energy. Furthermore, the country is able to invest substantial amounts into environmental issues due to the fact that it ditched its military back in 1948.

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