by MERCEDES R. AGUERO

According to ICE’s Expansion of Electricity Generation Plan for 2010-2021, next year and through 2016 ICE will operate at least 14 more power plants.

These generators would increase from 2400 to 4018 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity in the country.

According to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the contribution of these plants will cope with the rising electricity demand and reduce the risk of blackouts.

Today, the electricity consumption of households, industries, businesses and institutions demand 1624 MW (peak).

Today, as the difference between the country’s installed capacity and peak demand is small (about 700 MW), the electrical system is vulnerable. Faced with a severe decrease in rainfall or sudden departure of a plant would be necessary to implement rationing or generate more energy fuels (thermal), which is more expensive.

However, if plans materialize on schedule by 2016 Costa Rica would have greater energy security. Exceed generation capacity by 1,500 megawatts (MW) for the estimated demand for that year (2484 MW).

The development of new projects is led by ICE, which would provide 70% of the power generation. The remainder would be covered by private contributions for the construction of smaller-capacity plants that would sell power to ICE.