All around the world, the extensive –and also intensive– use of fossil hydrocarbons, especially coal and oil, as the main sources of fuel throughout the 20th Century until our current days, has carried the potential risk of exhausting this resource in many oil-producing countries. In consequence, the development of new technologies with regard to alternative energy sources for automobiles and other motor vehicles has been a top priority for countries such as Costa Rica.
That is why this country, for almost 2 decades, has been making notable efforts to develop projects related to green energy (solar, windy, among others) sources. In this sense, there is even a bill under consideration in the Costa Rican National Congress that would give tax breaks and some other incentives to electric vehicle (EV) purchasers, which authorities say will boost sales of that kind of vehicles.
As an example, a few days ago, the cooperative company “Coopeguanacaste” inaugurated the largest solar park in Costa Rica comprising an area of more than 4.9 hectares, with 15,456 photovoltaic panels which will generate around 9 Giga-Watts (GW) of clean energy per year. This energy generation will benefit thousands of urban areas, including industrial parks.
Now the next step is taking green energy, especially for the EVs, to some rural areas. In this sense, the National Consortium of Electric Companies of Costa Rica (Coneléctricas, for short in Spanish) is building what future users will know as “charging stations”. This consortium has also announced that they will install more charging stations for the upcoming months in Guanacaste (in the North Pacific region), in Zarcero (a small hill town West of San José), and in San Carlos (in the Northern-Central region).
A pair of charging stations is expected to join that electric grid. They will be located in the surrounding areas of the mountains South of San José, along with the Inter-American Highway: one in the Los Santos Wind Farm, and the other one in San Marcos de Tarrazú. Meanwhile, many Costa Rica’s EV drivers (around 300) are expectant with the progressive incorporation of such stations, especially for the rural areas mentioned above.
Up to date, Coneléctricas has enabled charging stations in San Carlos, San Ramón (Alajuela), and Ciudad Quesada. The ultimate goal, according to Rayner García, consultant in Technology, Innovation, and Electrical Networks of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), is to have a charging station (about 17) every 80 kilometers all over the country. This way, EV drivers will easily circulate around any city or town, whether in rural or urban areas, with no problem at all.
With a similar point of view, Daniel Yépez, an expert in Energy Efficiency and “Waste to Energy Developer 2017”, assures that lowering the cost of electricity through green energy efficiency and solar panels could be, in the short and middle term, extended to the electric grid feeding those charging stations. As a consequence, electric service fares will be significantly reduced (by up to 70% if compared to current fares), favoring a potentially growing EV park all over Costa Rica.
In terms of future investments in this area, Costa Rica is projecting to have at least around 100,000 EVs in circulation by 2035. In many senses, green energy has come to stay forever!