January 17, 2018

Costa Rica Has Been Using 100% Renewable Energy For Two Months!

Yes, you read that right. Costa Rica ran on 100% renewable energy for 76 days in recent months. It’s actually the second time in recent years that the country has done this, bringing the total number of days to over 450, with 150 coming this year.

It’s an amazing victory, and it has been made possible by using mostly hydropower and geothermal sources. Solar and wind have also been a crucial factor throughout this time, as has the heavy rainfall the country has experienced. Hydro power provided around 80% of the entire electricity output in August.

It’s a very impressive achievement, although we should mention that not ALL fossil fuels have disappeared. Around 1 million cars in the country are still powered by gasoline means, so they won’t go away just yet.


Costa Rica Flag

However, that still doesn’t take away from the remarkable achievement that has taken place here. Latin America as a whole is starting to catch up too, with countries like Colombia and Peru making a statement. It’s a testament to the work of these countries that an Andes renewable energy conference exists. It won’t be long before businesses break into these emerging markets.

Now, let’s be realistic for a moment. In countries like the US, you’re just not going to get 100% renewable energy at this point in time. Vox’s report on this story helps us to get a bigger picture of why this is the case.

“One obstacle here is that hydropower and geothermal are very location-specific — and only a few countries are lucky enough to have such rich resources,” it says. “For most countries, hydropower can only satisfy a portion of their power needs.”

The article continues to discuss other roadblocks that stand in the way of other countries from doing the same thing.

“There’s a good reason why fossil fuels still provide about 86 percent of the world’s energy, a fraction that hasn’t budged for over a decade. Coal, oil, and gas are environmentally destructive, yes, but also remarkably convenient.”


Picture By Pixabay

It’s clear that there’s still a long way to go if other countries want to emulate this success. But let’s not focus on the downsides for now. Costa Rica has done an incredible job at getting this far, and there’s more work to come. A huge hydroelectric project called Reventazón will come online soon, offering even more hydro power in the future. The following quote is taken from Mashable’s article on the subject, quoting Carlos Manuel Obregón, the executive president of ICE.

“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.”

So, Costa Rica has pulled off an incredible feat here, and one that many other countries will look to replicate. It won’t necessarily be that easy, but we’re constantly finding new ways to improve our use of renewable energy.

We’ll see what happens in time, but for now, we can look to countries like Costa Rica as a source of inspiration for the future.

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