Based on current projections, Costa Rica will double the amount of wind power the country generates in the next few years. Operations of the Orosi power plant, which launched in October, combined with the upcoming launch of the Vientos del Oeste project, slated for December, will supply the country’s electrical grid with another 59 megawatts from wind power. According to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, this will augment the 20MW the Tilawind plant in Guanacaste already provides.
Javier Orozco, the director of electrical planning and development for the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has said that another three plants would more than double Costa Rica’s current wind power generation. Earlier this year, that amount stood at 194 MW. By 2017, the number could be increased to 393.
Estimates indicate that wind power will increase from 7 percent currently to more than 10 percent by 2017. Compared to most developed countries, that is quite an impressive amount of growth. For instance, Germany, which is considered a world leader in wind power and clean energy production, currently only reports wind power generation of 8 percent.
At the moment, 98.8 percent of Costa Rica’s electricity generation stems from renewable sources, primarily hydro, although solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal sources also contribute.
Between the months of December and March, wind energy production peaks. It also happens to fall during the dry season, a time when reservoir levels and river flow to hydroelectric plants also decline.
Currently, there are 10 wind farms in Costa Rica, most of which are owned by private generators, who in turn, sell energy to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute. ICE has wind assets that include the National Power and Light Company farm in the Central Valley (CNFL), the Tejona wind farm in Guanacaste, and the Coopesantos farm located in the Los Santos region.
Earlier this year, private operators announced plans to construct five more wind farms next year. By 2017, the CNFL plans to open another wind farm.