Costa Rica has become a model country in the use of renewable energy. With approximately 5 million inhabitants, it is known throughout the world for being a true natural paradise, however, few know its commitment to the environment.
Its leaders have been aware, since the middle of the last century, of the importance of betting on a sustainable development model. In Costa Rica they are clear that renewable energies are the future, although, as you will see below, for them they are already part of the present.
The first great feat of the Costa Rican country took place in 2015. Year in which it managed to use electricity produced 100% with renewable energy for three consecutive months.
To make matters even better, in 2018 they broke their own record by creating 98% of their energy using renewables and using electricity generated by these sustainable systems for 300 days. During the last four years they have accumulated 1,197 days of totally clean production.
How does Costa Rica do it?
The staggering figures that we have just mentioned have allowed Costa Rica to become a role model for many nations around the planet. What is their secret?
This country generates electricity from five renewable sources: water, sun, wind, biomass and geothermal energy. The most relevant is hydraulic, which accounts for 78% of electricity. Obviously, Costa Rica’s excellent location in the middle of the Caribbean has a lot to do with it, since it allows them to take advantage of liquid resources. They also use wind and geothermal energy, which accounts for 10% of electricity.
Costa Rica has been promoting all these renewable energies since the middle of the last century for two very weighty reasons: to depend less on oil-producing countries and to conserve its splendid environment. Of course, the success of their system has not been a coincidence.
In the first place, its specific system of auctions for technology has made it possible to increase the contracting of additional capacity. The second relevant point is a program that encourages the consumer to produce energy and then sell the surplus.
Total decarbonization by 2021
The numbers are not deceiving, the amount of electricity that Costa Rica produces from sustainable sources is brutal, but they know that it is not enough and that they still have to take one more step: stop using fossil fuels entirely! The government has taken it seriously and has proposed to use 100% renewable energy by 2021.
Currently, the transportation sector in Costa Rica is responsible for 66% of the hydrocarbon consumption and 54% of the country’s CO2 emissions. For that reason they are encouraging the purchase of electric cars by eliminating the taxes associated with them.
Based on the same idea, they will also promote the creation of an infrastructure of charging stations throughout the country. A risky bet, but they trust that companies end up developing batteries with more autonomy and at lower prices.
In the same way, they will optimize public transport networks. One of the measures includes an electric train with a capacity for 250,000 people of almost 74 kilometers in length, in addition to three lines and 42 stations in 15 cantons of the country.
It is true that Costa Rica is a fairly small country, so its conversion to a sustainable model is much easier than in nations with 10 times more inhabitants. However, that does not detract from them. Costa Rica’s strategies are a true model to follow for a society that pollutes more with each passing day.