Costa Rica stops the use of fossil fuels

Sep 02, 2016 | written by:

Many things have been told about renewable energies: everyone initially are favorable, then the first 'but' and the first 'however' begin to arrive. One of the main accusations to renewable is that of being too expensive energy sources for a modern state, which is partly true but, fortunately, there is someone in the world that shows us that it is possible to sustain the energy needs by relying exclusively on clean sources: Costa Rica.

The small Central American State for more than 113 days in a row, indeed, gave a definitive cut to fossil fuels and ran its electricity grid entirely on renewable energies. Last year, the Costa Rica had left off fossil fuels power plants for 285 non-consecutive days (including 75 in a row), surpassing the 99% renewable on demand for the first time and even in 2016 it continues its run to renewable. Using a mix of hydropower, wind, solar and geothermal energy, the country has produced more than 96% of its energy from non-fossil sources from 1 January to date. To be precise, approximately 5,050 GWh of electricity generated in the first six months of the year, 69% came from hydro, 13% from geothermal and 12% from the wind. The rest is solar and biomass energy. During June, July and August, the small nation has achieved 100% renewable energy for 113 days in a row. Due to heavy rainfall, the hydropower plants are generating for themselves almost all the electricity it takes to power the country and, with the help of geothermal, solar and wind energy, there is no need of coal or oil to keep the lights on.

Naturally Costa Rica has many advantages: it is a small town (fewer than five million inhabitants), its manufacturing industry does not require a lot of electricity, and the presence on the territory of many volcanoes and other topographic features are suited to the exploitation of renewable energies. The low presence of heavy industries, with an economy based mainly on tourism and agriculture, and the lack of a defense industry that can absorb economic resources (the country has decided not to have an army in 1948) complete the particularly lucky framework from the point of view of energy. Of course, CO2 emissions still comes, for example, from cars but the state would like to become 'carbon neutral' by 2021.

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