Costa Rica, which has one of the cleanest electrical matrices in the world, explores the possibility of using the waves and tides of the sea as power generators to meet its needs for the future, experts gathered on Monday said.
The topic was addressed in a forum organized by environmental entities and the state-run Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), responsible for the country’s electricity generation, to analyze the options for obtaining renewable energy from the maritime movement.
“We want to analyze the offshore energy of wind, waves, tides, currents, thermal gradients, and salt gradients,” Rodrigo Rojas, an environment and energy specialist at ICE, told AFP.
He added that “each (of these sources) represents an important challenge in terms of the supply chain, social, biological, economic, tariff studies, which is 10 or 15 years will tell us how to realize projects.”
In the last five years, Costa Rica has generated more than 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly hydroelectric plants, according to ICE data.
However, the Deputy Minister of Energy of the Ministry of Environment, Rolando Castro, warned that this energy matrix is vulnerable to climate change, which could affect the flow of the rivers that feed the hydroelectric plants.
Given this, he raised the need to “diversify energy sources by taking advantage of natural resources,” such as sea coasts.
The vice-minister warned that the generation of maritime energy is technologically viable, but is currently not very accessible from a financial point of view.
In that sense, the British academic Abu Bakr Bahaj, from the University of Southampton, presented a series of experiences developed in his country to generate electricity with the tides and waves of the sea.
Some of the experiences are underway, others failed for economic reasons.
He said that the development of this form of energy requires support from governments to succeed.
According to Bahaj, initial experiences indicate that the energy obtained from the tides has advanced slowly and steadily, while that of the waves have made slower progress.