Costa Rica Was 100 Percent Energy Renewable For 76 Consecutive Days

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From June 17th to September 2nd, Costa Rica used only renewable sources of energy to power their country.

During the incredible, progressive run, eighty percent of the energy came from hydropower, while geothermal accounted for 12 percent, and wind power made up 7 percent. Less than .01 percent of the electricity was harvested from solar power — in part due to the frequent summer rain. According to the National Center of Energy Control, the 76 consecutive days of using only renewable energy this summer are part of Costa Rica’s track record of 150 days of using clean energy.

The country’s plan is to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2021. Last year, 99 percent of their energy was produced using renewable power sources. In the country of 4.9 million people, about half of their energy usage comes from motor vehicles, which still run on gasoline and diesel, while lots of homes burn wood for heat. There are also two cement factories that use coal and petroleum coke burned in kilns, which produce carbon emissions.

According to Carlos Manuel Obregón, the executive president of Costa Rica Electricity Institute, the small Central American country could achieve significantly more carbon-free power as the ICE’s Reventazón hydroelectric project starts operating this month when six years of construction is completed.

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Maria Galluci wrote in her Mashable article, “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.”

Costa Rica is a small country that is less than 20,000 square miles, and they use far less energy than other countries. They produced 10,713 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2015, according to a July report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Compare that to the estimated 4 million gigawatt-hours of total generation in the United States during the same time period, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. Some other small countries, including Iceland get almost 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy, and even some cities in the U.S. including Aspen, Colorado are powered by 100 percent sustainable sources of energy,

Although other large countries might not be able to make the same sort of speedy transition to 100 percent renewable energy, Costa Rica is setting a good example for the international community by proving it is possible and committing to a sustainable future.


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About the author: Evan Vitkovski


An American writer, filmmaker, journalist, and blogger living in Taipei, Taiwan. So many stories to tell, so little time.


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