In the next two and half years, Costa Rica is planning to add 100 megawatts of wind power and 40 from hydroelectric.
While this amount is a fraction of the 1,000 MW of wind power Uruguay is trying to add in the same time frame, it is still an ambitious plan.
It also meshes well with Costa Rica’s overall plan to become carbon neutral by 2021. Planting trees to offset its carbon emissions, combined with creating more clean energy, is the country’s basic approach to having a net contribution to climate change of zero.
“In the case of electricity, the aim is to stop burning petroleum derivatives. The projects included in this process will contribute to this objective of carbon neutrality,” said Ulises Zuniga Blanco, an employee of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Costa Rica’s government-managed utility.
The new wind power farms could all be operational by 2014, and the hydroelectric project by the following year.
In 2011, Costa Rica generated about 73% of its power from hydroelectric, but just 4% from wind power. Wind power potential there is said to be good, with many rural areas experiencing winds of 15 to 20 mph.
Currently, Costa Rica’s energy comes from hydroelectric, geothermal, cane products, sustainable timber, biomass, wind, and solar. If the Central American country is the first in the world to become carbon neutral, the publicity could cement their status as a world leader in conservation. The small country has about five percent of the world’s plants and animals, and is known for rich ecologically-oriented tourist opportunities.
No new fossil fuel plants are planned to be constructed after 2015.
Image Credit: Dirk van der Made, Wiki Commons
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