According to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), Costa Rica has run entirely on renewable energy for more than 300 days in 2017, and they have not needed to resort to thermal backup to generate power since May 1.
This accomplishment adds to an already impressive renewable track record. Costa Rica ran on renewable energy for 299 and 271 days in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The U.S. generated only about 15 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2016.
Currently, 99.62% of the Costa Rica’s electricity production comes from its five clean energy sources: water, wind, sun, geothermal and biomass, with hydroelectricity generating the largest percentage of energy:
It’s important to note that this incredible statistic can be misleading. We are talking about electricity consumption only.
According to Costa Rican clean development adviser Dr. Monica Araya, 99% renewable energy production is a “fantastic achievement,” but “It hides a paradox, which is that nearly 70 per cent of all our energy consumption is oil.”
And not all renewable electricity is created equal. Hydroelectric power provides the majority of the country’s electricity, but dams can have negative environmental and social consequences.
Thankfully, wind energy production has also reached a record high in 2017, contributing 1,014.82 gigawatt hours just since January.
With 16 wind farms located in the provinces of San José and Guanacaste and winds expected to increase through the December, wind energy production is proving to be an important part of the renewable energy future in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has achieved something incredible and shown the rest of the world what’s possible with renewable energy.