Private Tico Electricity Cogenerators Ask to be Enabled for Exporting Energy

    A satisfactory counter proposal by the government is pending

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    As a result of the decision of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), not to renew more power purchase contracts to private cogenerators, they ask that they be allowed to export and sell the product in the Central American market.

    The request was formulated by the Costa Rican Association of Energy Producers (Acope), which submitted a letter to the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, in which they expressed their disagreement with the decision made by ICE and demands his intervention.

    Likewise, said association asked the President to take the corresponding actions so that they can continue operating. In the letter, Acope indicates that the decision adopted by ICE caused the shutdown of 4 cogenerators, this is the case of:

    PH Poás I and II, closed from September 15, 2020

    P.E Plantas Eólica Tilarán (PESA), its contract expired on November 28, 2020

    P.H. Don Pedro, your contract expired on November 30, 2020

    P.H. Volcán, his contract expired on November 30, 2020

    At the same time, two other plants suffer the same fate:

    P.H. Río Segundo II, expires May 30, 2021

    P.H. The Angel I, expires on November 19, 2021

    A step backwards

    “Shutting down renewable energy plants at competitive prices, to produce energy from thermal sources or import electricity, is not only contrary to the decision of the President’s mandate to reactivate the economy, but also to advance in decarbonization, this unilateral decision by ICE is critical; Furthermore, it is not true that the renewable energy from these private generators is the one that affects electricity rates”, states Mario Alvarado, director Acope executive, in the letter.

    Other options

    In case of not being able to export the energy they produce to other markets, Acope proposed other alternatives. In these he asked that other electricity distributors can buy the energy or that the option be enabled so that the plants can make their own energy consumption in places other than the generation one through the respective payment of tolls.

    At the same time, that the self-consumption of the energy of these plants is enabled for any mechanism for recharging electric vehicles, hydrogen production and intensive electro-activity.

    “Only in terms of effects on the Public Treasury, due to its status as ´taxive partner´ of the activity, the State would cease to receive approximately 40% of the profits generated by this line of business, which due to their capacity constitute large taxpayers” they argue.

    Likewise, the adverse effects will be suffered by the cantons where these energy uses are located, but they are still relevant. And all this happens in times of Pandemic, where proposals for economic reactivation must be sought throughout the country, but particularly in rural areas,” the document reveals.

    In valuation

    For its part, the government is in the process of evaluating the options that allow these companies to export to the regional electricity market. Agustín Castro, Minister of Communication, said that Acope’s letter was received and that the corresponding proposal is being prepared.

    “The Government will promote that private power plants can manage their participation in the regional electricity market, it is clear from a statement from the Presidential office. The Government also recalls its commitment to sustainable development and decarbonization. Likewise, it reiterates its support for the financial stabilization process carried out at ICE”, declared the minister. It was reported that the government will release the proposal in the coming weeks. Likewise, the official reiterates its support for the financial stabilization process carried out at ICE.

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