Costa Rica ended 2016 particularly green. This beautiful Central American country has been running 100% on renewable energy for over 250 days last year. The various renewable energies used in the country provided 98.1% of the electricity consumed in Costa Rica in 2016, according to data from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). Fossil fuels provided the remaining 1.9%.
The country of 4.9 million inhabitants derives most of its electricity from large hydroelectric power stations, thanks to its numerous rivers and seasonal rains.
Geothermal power plants and wind turbines are also important sources of energy, while biomass and solar power provide a small but growing share of electricity.
A few thermoelectric plants complete the electricity mix, but Costa Rica has hardly used them in the past two years.
The country enjoyed 113 consecutive days without pollution, from June 17 to October 6, when they had to briefly fire up their fossil-fuel power plants. After this crisis, Costa Rica resumed operating without fossil fuels, the ICE spokesperson said.
In 2015, Costa Rica was supplied at 98.82% by renewable energies, slightly higher than in 2016.
Compared to more industrialized and larger countries, Costa Rica appears like a green gem in the middle of a pile of black coal stones.
But Costa Rica’s small economy and its natural resources give it an advantage over energy powers like the United States.
Costa Rica’s population, for example, is about 65 times smaller than that of the United States. It also produces about 373 times less electricity than in the United States. Which facilitates its management.
Almost 15% of US electricity between January and October 2016 was from hydroelectric, wind, solar and other renewable sources.
Coal and natural gas together accounted for nearly two-thirds of US electricity production during this period. Nuclear power provides the remaining 19%.
But Costa Rica is in another world, its idyll with clean energy continues in 2017.