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There’s been a lot of excitement about Costa Rica’s recent announcement that it got 100% of its electricity from clean renewable energy sources for 100 days straight.

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Costa Rica has been in total for 2016 of 150 days altogether. Costa Rica set a goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2021, though they’ve recently pushed that back to 2085.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

 

Sometimes we can… sometimes we can’t

Some years this works better than others — we suffered a major drought in 2014 — and 2015 and 2016 have been unusually rainy, keeping reservoirs full. The downside? The bountiful downpour is likely due to climate change. Another 12.6% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from geothermal plants that pull heat from deep in the earth’s crust.

Costa Rica gets another 2% of its electrical power from wind turbines, with a little bit of additional energy coming from biomass burning and solar.

Iceland gets 99% of its electric power from a similar mix of sources: Dammed rivers supply hydroelectric power that meets 70% of demand, and geothermal energy from the collision of the two continental plates the country straddles takes care of the other 30%.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_round_chart style=”modern” stroke_width=”2″ values=”%5B%7B%22title%22%3A%22Hydroelectrical%20Energy%22%2C%22value%22%3A%2278%2C45%22%2C%22color%22%3A%22blue%22%7D%2C%7B%22title%22%3A%22Biomass%22%2C%22value%22%3A%220%2C25%22%2C%22color%22%3A%22violet%22%7D%2C%7B%22title%22%3A%22Wind%22%2C%22value%22%3A%222%2C10%22%2C%22color%22%3A%22orange%22%7D%2C%7B%22title%22%3A%22Thermal%22%2C%22value%22%3A%227%2C19%22%2C%22color%22%3A%22pink%22%7D%2C%7B%22title%22%3A%22Geothermal%22%2C%22value%22%3A%2212%2C01%22%2C%22color%22%3A%22green%22%7D%5D”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]

 Size Matters

It’s great that Costa Rica’s doing so well meeting demand with clean energy, but its small size means it can get by with producing far less than many countries. 51,000 square kilometers in size — about half of Kentucky — with only 5 million people and no real heavy industry, demand in 2015 was met with 10,713 gigawatt-hours of electricity. Compare that to about 4 million gigawatt-hours needed in the U.S. during the same year, and you see why Costa Rica has a smaller mountain to climb than many.

In larger countries, producing sufficient hydroelectric and geothermal power may have to wait for technology beyond what we currently have. The destruction required to even attempt to produce the power larger countries need now would be unacceptable, and likely impossible anyway.

 

Costa Rica’s Role

The best way to take the good news from Costa Rica is to count the country among a number of other inspiring nations working diligently to leverage current technology and take advantage of naturally occurring resource opportunities as they arise. Costa Rica joins them at the leading edge of the global effort to safely and non-destructively meet our need for clean, renewable energy.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Source: Big Think[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]