Costa Rica has achieved an extraordinary milestone in the history of green energy. Only with renewable energies, this country has been operating for more than 6 months. The heavy rains in the region have allowed the country to completely renounce fossil fuels, and to feed almost entirely on the electricity generated from 4 hydroelectric plants – with a little extra help from geothermal, solar green energy and wind projects. With a little more investment, this trend can be maintained over time.
The Costa Rican State Institute of Electricity (ICE) announced the news, specifically noting that they have not had to resort to energy generated by fossil fuels. Costa Rica has a small population of just 4.9 million inhabitants, abundant rainfall to feed its 4 hydroelectric plants, and a multitude of volcanoes for geothermal installations.
Diversification is also important. While hydroelectric plants produced 80% of Costa Rica’s energy in 2014, there is no shortage of detractors of this form of electricity production, which affects the ecosystems where they are installed.
About 10% of the energy was generated by the geothermal plants in 2014, and the government approved a geothermal project of US$ 958 million for that year. Largely financed with loans from European and Japanese banks, the project consists of 3 facilities that will provide an additional 150 MW of green energy.
All this leads to that Costa Rica will be completely Carbon Neutral by the year 2021, and thus not touch the oil deposits that are found along its coast. It is an extraordinary effort for a small nation, and that has been largely possible because Costa Rica has not had an army since 1948, which frees up huge resources for the financing of renewable energy infrastructures.
Other small countries such as Sweden, Bulgaria, and Estonia have reached their renewable energy targets set for 2020. Denmark gets 40% of its energy demand from wind energy and plans to get rid of fossil fuels by 2050.