Costa Rica Adds Sixth Consecutive Year with more than 98% of Renewable Electricity Generation

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    The National Electric System (SEN) will add at the end of 2020 the sixth consecutive year with more than 98% of renewable electrical generation, according to data from the Energy Control Center (CENCE).

    As of December 15th, the SEN’s production with the five clean sources reaches 99.78%. Energy from fossil fuels has been the lowest since 1986; this year it was only 23.73 gigawatt hours.

    As indicated by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), 118 imported gigawatt hours are added to this thermal quota to complete the national demand, which has been served by 98.6% with national resources.

    Water: the main source

    In 2020, water continues as the main source in the Costa Rican electricity matrix, with a 71.95% share. The second is geothermal, with 14.90%, followed by wind with 12.39%. On the other hand, biomass and the sun contribute 0.54%.

    “In the face of the emergency due to the Pandemic and the drop in demand, the Costa Rican system has been able to deliver almost all of the energy with clean resources. Despite facing a difficult year, we are making firm progress on the goals of decarbonization and electrification of transportation,” said Irene Cañas, ICE’s executive president.

    Costa Rica began diversifying its generation park in 1994, with the incorporation of the Miravalles I Geothermal Plant. The wind source continued in 1996, and in 2012, ICE inaugurated the first photovoltaic solar plant in Central America, located in the canton of Bagaces, Guanacaste province.

    The institution assured that facing the beginning of the dry season, the five regulation reservoirs show optimal levels. Arenal –the main one and that feeds the Arenal, Dengo and Sandillal plants in a cascade– had one year to recover its historical level and already exceeds 541 meters above sea level. Production with national resources reaches 99.78% to date. Fuel-sourced energy is the lowest since 1986. Regulation reservoirs are with optimal levels for the dry season.

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