Earlier in the year, Costa Rica made the move to operating completely on renewable energy. Due to the vast amount of rainfall this year, the country’s hydropower plants have been able to generate almost all of the electricity required to power the small country. Along with a boost received from solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources, Costa Rica no longer needs to rely on petroleum or coal in order to keep the country powered.
A number of benefits have allowed Costa Rica to reach this accomplishment, including the fact that it is a relatively small country, home to a population of less than 5 million. The fact that Costa Rica does not have a large manufacturing industry that would consume a lot of energy has also helped. Costa Rica has a large number of topographical features, including volcanoes that lend themselves well to renewable energy, which has also assisted the country.
Other Countries Committing to Renewable Energy
Around the world, numerous other countries have made the commitment to eschewing fossil fuels and are making remarkable progress in meeting those goals. Iceland is just one such country, where 85 percent of all national energy is produced by hydropower or geothermal sources. In Europe, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Estonia have already reached their renewable energy goals five years ahead of schedule. Denmark currently receives 40 percent of its energy from wind resources and has made a commitment of eliminating fossil fuel energy production completely by 2050.
While Costa Rica has certainly made incredible progress, there are still potential risks that could interfere with the ability to generate electricity using water. For instance, if the country were to experience a serious drought, hydropower could be at risk. Recognizing the problems that would present, the Costa Rican government has approved almost $1 billion for a geothermal project, which is to be funded in large part by the European Investment Bank and Japan. The Costa Rican government itself has also been able to invest heavily in renewable energy since it does not need to funnel any money into national defense, as there has been no military in Costa Rica since 1948.