In what could be a lesson for the world that is dependent mostly on fossil fuels for its energy requirements, Costa Rica in 2016 produced 98.1 % of its electricity needs from non-fossil fuels. For 271 days of 2016, the Central American country ran entirely on renewable energy. Costa Rica generated 10,778.32 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power in 2016, of which 98.1% came from renewable sources. To compare with, two-thirds of the Chinese energy requirements are met from using commercial coal power. While 70% of India’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
The primary reason of Costa Rica’s success can be attributed to the geography of the country which receives plentiful rainfall and the presence of a good number of hydropower projects. Hydroelectricity amounts nearly 75% of the total electricity while other non-conventional sources like wind and Solar make it 98% of total electricity consumed by the country. The inauguration Reventazón hydroelectric dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in Latin America in September 2015 also attributed to this success. The dam has the capacity to supply electricity to power an estimated 525,000 homes.
But Costa Rica’s motor vehicle stats are not so good
The country ran on renewable power on a continuous stretch of 110 days from 17 June until 6 October. But Costa Rica is not entirely fossil fuel free. The country with a population of 4.9 million has an average of 287 cars per 1,000 people of which 98% are entirely dependent on fossil fuels. The natural oil consumption increased by 11% in the year 2016. The per capita car ratio of Costa Rica is above the world average which undermines its achievements green energy.
Along with Costa Rica, the countries leading the race for green energy include i) Sweden, which aims to be first fossil-fuel free state. ii) Nicaragua which vowed to achieve 90% of energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. iii) Scotland, which produced 97% of the country’s household electricity needs using wind power in 2015. iv) Uruguay, another Latin American country which ran on 95% renewables in 2015 without any government subsidies or higher consumer costs.
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