Costa Rica achieved 99 percent renewable electricity generation in 2015

For 285 days in 2015, Costa Rica managed to power its grid on 100 percent renewable sources, making it one of a few countries in the world to eschew fossil fuels in energy generation.

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Three-quarters of Costa Rica's electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants, taking advantage of the country's abundant river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. The rest comes from geothermal, wind, biomass and solar sources. 

Costa Rica has achieved 99 percent renewable energy use this year, showing the rest of the world that it’s truly possible to use sustainable and readily available energy sources if they make a commitment to living an on-going, sustainable way of being.

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The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that even though 2015 was a very dry year, Costa Rica was still ahead of its renewable energy targets and aims of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.  It’s aim for the future is not only to hit 100% renewable energy but to clean up energy consumption in general, such as moving the transportation sector away from fossil fuels and becoming less dependent on hydropower. It could do this by adding more geothermal energy plants and harnessing energy from other sources.

Renewable energy investment

Uruguay makes a dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy. The country is defining global trends in renewable energy investment.

In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs. They have added Biomass and Solar power to their existing hydropower. The country relies on a mixture of energy resources including wind turbines, solar power, hydropower, and biomass. .....  this means that renewables now account for 55% of the country’s overall energy mix (including transport fuel) compared with a global average share of 12%. 

Renewables provide 95% of the country’s electricity, and prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts.

According to Ramón Méndez, Uruguay’s head of climate policy - the key to success is rather dull but encouragingly replicable: clear decision-making, a supportive regulatory environment and a strong partnership between the public and private sector.“What we’ve learned is that renewables is just a financial business,” Méndez says. “The construction and maintenance costs are low, so as long as you give investors a secure environment, it is a very attractive.”

Méndez further attributes Uruguay’s success to the fact that investors have discovered clean energy makes good business sense. Uruguay’s state utility guarantees fixed energy prices for 20 years, which has encouraged foreign companies like the German wind power firm Enercon to build plants.  Read More