Energy Environment

The green heart of Costa Rica

Hosting 6 % of the world’s biodiversity on its tiny land mass, it’s no wonder Costa Rica is committed to protecting the environment. Now, the next milestone on the political agenda is achieving carbon neutrality. Mauricio Céspedes, Executive Director at INTECO, ISO’s member for the country, explains how.

In 2015, Costa Rica hit a remarkable milestone when it generated the country’s electrical power from 100 % renewable energy sources during 285 consecutive days. This was another feather in the cap for our small Central American republic, which already emerged as a leader in ecotourism in the late 1990s.

The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) has since revealed that the country had 300 days in which renewables met its entire demand for electricity, beating its own previous record.

You might be tempted to ask how a country of just 51 000 km2 and five million inhabitants managed such a feat. Helped by its geographical situation and its geological and topographical conditions, Costa Rica focused on its most abundant resource: water. The country’s power mix is dominated by hydropower (75.3 %), but also includes geothermal (12.84 %), wind (10.08 %), biomass (0.77 %) and solar (0.01 %), according to ICE statistics.

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