Eco Friendly: Costa Rica Has Survived 2015 Entirely on Renewable Energy

There’s another reason to love Costa Rica other than the incredible surf, scenery, and yoga retreats. 

The country has just spent 75 days entirely powered by renewable energy, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced today.

This zero-emission milestone was achieved thanks to heavy rainfall at four hydroelectric power facilities in the first quarter of 2015.

If your Costa Rica vacation was ruined thanks to the rain, you can feel better knowing that all that rain meant zero need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity. 

Well, kind of.
It was the resulting hydropower, along with a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar energy that’s powered the country so far all year.  

Costa Rica is home to generous winds, biomass, and solar energy plants. Some years, more than 10 per cent of the country’s electricity is generated by geothermal projects that operate at the country’s handful of active volcanoes. New geothermal projects are also actively in the planning stages, including a $958 million USD geothermal project that was announced mid-2014.

The reliance on renewable sources of energy has resulted in a lowering of electricity rates by 12 percent, and they’re expected to drop further if the renewable trend continues.

The country has been lauded for its environmental practices for years, and has been vocal about a goal to become carbon-neutral by 2021. Prior to this year’s milestone, the country already got 88 per cent of its total energy from renewable resources. 

Not to be Debbie Downers, but before other nations expect to achieve similar success, it needs to be noted that its success in terms of renewable resources can be attributed to its size (which is half that of most US states), its subsequent low population of 4.8 million, its rainfall-heavy tropical climate, and its mountainous interior.

Not to mention, the country’s economy relies heavily on tourism and agriculture rather than on heavy industrial activities.

Either way, it’s definitely an impressive milestone – and one we should all take note of. 


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