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A Pioneer in Clean Electricity Production, Costa Rica Wants to Share Its Knowledge

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 80218
Category/Department: Costa Rica
Date: 2017-02-23
By: George Rodríguez

Having produced almost all its electricity from renewable sources last year, Costa Rica, a country with a solid international image as a protector of the environment, wants to share its knowledge.The idea is for this Central American nation to become a “green hub” and make available to others the lessons it has learned over decades of using renewable sources for the generation of its electricity, which reaches almost all of its approximately 5 million people . Costa Rica opted for environmentally safe electricity almost 70 years ago, when it created the state-owned Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Costa Rican Electricity Institute, ICE). At the time, ICE focused on hydroelectric power, but over the years, it broadened the scope of its production to sources such as biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind. Fuel is a source for less than 1% of the energy produced, according to Laura Lizano, an energy expert with the Environment and Energy Department (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, MINAE). This is unavoidable, she said, since some of the renewable sources are not constantly available. “There is a thermal participation, of course’” Lizano told LADB. “There has to be, actually, because we can’t depend only on variable resources.” A backup is necessary because sources such as sun or wind are not always available in the amounts needed, and this affects electricity distribution, she pointed out.

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