Costa Rica needs to diversify energy markets to allow small producers to participate, which would open the doors to growth and innovation, that would both economic sound and environmentally friendly.

Recently at the Energy Autonomy forum, participants highlighted the need to create a legal framework that allows users to become small producers and work together with institutions related to the electrical service.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), is looking at options were the client is able to generate electricity for home consumption, reducing the need for grid services.

There are several sources available to the client such as solar, wind and small-scale micro-hydro and biomass to generate their own energy residential energy.

The pilot program started in 2010 and had to be extended to five years to solve some technical and institutional issues. The objective for 2015 is to implement measures that will allow users to be self-powered.

In terms of small-scale renewable, there is need to eliminate barriers that hinder institutional, regulatory, legal and technical aspect to development.

To achieve their initiatives, ICE representatives a working with the various institutions including the utilities, the Ministry of Environment (MINAET) and with financial organizations and Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).

Currently, there are 70 customers in the pilot program with capacity of 350 kilowatts and is soon expected to be able to apply the program to a national project.

The main objectives are environmental with a chance to improving customer carbon footprint as well as reducing load requirements for the current infrastructure.

The Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica said one of the main conclusions reached was that Costa Rica has a very clean energy matrix and future efforts have to continue to keep up with increasing demand.

A clear legal framework is needed for the market is open to small producers so they can generate their own power. Diversification of the energy matrix would allow a reduction of cost and by leveraging the sun and wind during the summer and increased water flow in the rain season would achieve more competitive prices, benefiting the entire country.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica