In 2015, Costa Rica generated 100% of its electricity from renewable energy for 299 days. Last year, it ran for 271 days on anything but fossil fuels. This year, the country generated 100% of its electricity from renewable energy for 300 days. With just four weeks left of 2017 to go, it looks likely the country is going to best its 2015 achievement.
The Central American country is currently making its power using different renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind, geothermal, biomass, and solar energy. Hydropower is responsible for producing more than 70% of its electricity. Wind and geothermal energy helps produce 10%, while biomass and solar energy produce 1%.
The tropical country currently produces 1,241 times less greenhouse gases than China. Surprisingly, renewable energy sources provide just 15% of U.S. electricity.
“The optimization of the matrix has allowed us to take advantage of the high availability of water. The regulatory reservoirs offer us a guarantee to maximize the use of variable sources. Mainly water on the edge and wind, and in parallel to supply the contribution of geothermal energy,” says Carlos Manuel Obregón, executive president of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity.
Costa Rica can accomplish these goals because of its small size and population and abundant natural resources, particularly hydropower and geothermal sources that many countries lack.
Dr Monica Araya, Costa Rican clean development adviser, says the extent of Costa Rica’s renewable electricity generation is a “fantastic achievement”:
“It really is time to debunk the myth that a country has to choose between development on the one hand and environmental protection, renewables, quality of life, on the other.”
Problems still exist in the Central American country. According o Araya, “it hides a paradox, which is that nearly 70 per cent of all our energy consumption is oil.” IFLScience! writes:
“Unlike many developed countries, Costa Rica has no plans to replace the million or so cars still using dirty internal combustion engines, which do indeed have a noticeable negative effect on both air quality and the climate.”
But when it comes to energy, the wealthiest nations on Earth are lagging far behind Costa Rica. This shows you can say goodbye to coal when various forms of clean energy work just fine.