Palmetto Clean Energy News & Solar Energy Blog

The Little Giant of Renewable Energy


All those who have a passion for clean energy dream the same dream. They want to see their countries running entirely on clean power sources. In Costa Rica, these energy devotees no longer have to dream. The country has nailed running off renewable energy sources this past year!

While the country still uses some fossil fuels as a power source, Costa Rica has inched closer toward 100 percent clean energy in the last few years. The year 2016 showed no exception.

According to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, or ICE, renewable energy sources provided the country with about 98 percent of its yearly electricity needs! That number does not leave much room for fossil fuels.

On top of this enormous victory, Costa Rica also powered itself on clean sources alone from mid-summer to early fall. For 110 glorious days, the nation gave fossil fuels the cold shoulder and basked in clean power.

Still, the news gets better. While the country did run on clean energy for these back-to-back days, it also ran on renewables in spells throughout the year.
Overall, Costa Rica’s power operator tallied over 250 days of clean energy. The country spent more than 8 months without polluted fossil fuels!

Renewable Energy Sources

To achieve its great success, Costa Rica uses a variety of renewable sources to fit its needs. The nation gets some power from wind and geothermal energy, but its main source is hydro power due to the nation’s many water resources. At the same time, Costa Rica is expanding its other renewables, including solar energy.

For 2017, the nation expects nothing less than its previous success. To grow its wind energy, Costa Rica has established four new wind plants that will add more power to the energy pool. The country also foresees an abundance of rainfall and weather conditions that will boost production from its hydro power as well.

The Little Giant

With so many triumphs in 2016, Costa Rica is certainly making a name for itself. The country has used its resources and small population for its good, and it has turned many heads in the renewable energy world.

On the other hand, large countries have many problems that they must work through to achieve their own success. For example, the United States requires more energy for its large population than Costa Rica. According to the countries’ national energy data, the US needs over 370 times more electricity than its small counterpart!

To meet US energy needs for 2016, the country received almost two-thirds of its electricity from coal and natural gas, presenting a huge hurdle for clean resources. The country also used nuclear power for about 20 percent of its energy.

Still, according to the US Energy Information Administration, almost 15 percent of US power came from renewables for about nine months, including power from solar and wind.
Although large countries like the United States have more hurdles to overcome with clean energy, they can still look to Costa Rica for inspiration. These countries should mirror the small nation’s tactics, looking for native resources that will give an advantage. After all, Costa Rica is turning into the little giant of renewable energy.


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