Skip to content

Costa Rica & Renewable Energy

October 10, 2016

By Paul Homewood 

 

image

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/costa-rica-goes-75-days-powering-itself-using-only-renewable-energy-10126127.html

 

Costa Rica is often held up as the shining paragon for renewable energy, showing the rest of us how we would run our economies on little more than wind, sun and fairy farts.

The truth, you will not be surprised to learn, is rather different.

 

It is certainly true that Costa Rica gets most of its electricity from renewable sources, but the vast majority of this comes from hydropower.

 

image

http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IeDIndex3.cfm?tid=2&eyid=2012&syid=2012&reverseAxes=0&cid=&cid=CS&pid=alltypes&aid=12&unit=BKWH&updateB=UPDATE

 

There is nothing new about hydropower in Costa Rica. In fact, according to the US EIA, the country sourced all its electricity from hydro as long ago as 1980.

The other major renewable source is geothermal, which sensibly makes good use of all the volcanoes there. Again , there is nothing new with this. Costa Rica has been generating electricity this way since 1992, and the Miravalles Geothermal Field, which accounts for 14% of total grid capacity, has been operational since 1994.

In contrast, wind and solar produce a measly 5% of the country’s generation.

There is ample hydropower during the wet season during the winter, but it becomes problematic during the summer, hence the need for fossil fuel backup.

For the Costa Ricans, all of this is eminently sensible, taking advantage of abundant natural resources.

If we could grow a few mountain ranges here, along with a smattering of volcanoes. maybe we could follow suit. Until then, however, it looks like we’ll have to rely on those fairy farts!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. rOSS kING permalink
    October 11, 2016 4:04 am

    Since AGW is 1/9,800 ths. of Earth’s atmospheric heating (I’ll provide the math, if asked), it is infinitesimally insignificant in Earth’s heat-balance. Global Warming alarmism is — based on the aggregates — a SCAM!
    Harvesting ‘free’ potential energy (dams, for example) is a no-brainer, esp”ly as the source is concentrated. As opposed to micro-generation dissipated across hundreds of sq.km. of desert or wind-corridor (for which read expensive collection & aggregation costs, added to long-distance transmissions costs of hi-V electricity (who lives in a desert?)
    I submit that the right to reliable, lowest-cost, electricity is as fundamental as the right to expect of a modern State that gov’t facilitates the cheapest regime for affordable food housing & water.

  2. John F. Hultquist permalink
    October 11, 2016 4:22 am

    In some places “hydro” is defined out of the green energy group. If included there would be no need for any other because reasonable goals are already exceeded. Much of the electricity in Washington State is produced by falling water and so not counted. Geothermal might be possible but sources are not well located with respect to population centers.
    In Idaho, however, the use began in the early 1890s:

    http://publicworks.cityofboise.org/services/geothermal/

    ————-
    Costa Rica likely equals a rounding error on China’s electrical pie chart.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      October 11, 2016 9:02 am

      With their massive amounts of hydro, China can just continue to pump out as much coal and gas fired CO2 as they like.🙂

  3. October 11, 2016 5:54 am

    Places with hydro are probably rare examples where wind electricity may make sense, as it allows less depletion of the water during dry periods, but given that fossil-fuel power is required to take care of long droughts, it is probably a lot cheaper not to bother at all with wind.

    In fact the example of Tasmania shows where wind can be dangerous, encouraging the closure of fossil plant, making the system unable to cope with breakdowns or long dry spells.

  4. AndyG55 permalink
    October 11, 2016 8:59 am

    And Geothermal.

    Iceland has LOTS of that too.. like hydro, its very much a local source.

    The “renewables” that most countries can implement… only 5% !!

    Really is a FARCE isn’t it.

    • NeilC permalink
      October 11, 2016 9:55 am

      A very expensive FARCE.

      As rOSS kING permalink October 11, 2016 4:04 am says “the right to reliable, lowest-cost, electricity is as fundamental as the right to expect of a modern State that gov’t facilitates the cheapest regime for affordable food housing & water.”

  5. Bloke down the pub permalink
    October 11, 2016 10:18 am

    If we could grow a few mountain ranges here, along with a smattering of volcanoes. maybe we could follow suit.
    So according to the Gruaniad our shrinking mountains mean that we’ll have less potential for hydro.

  6. October 11, 2016 11:40 am

    “If we could grow a few mountain ranges here, along with a smattering of volcanoes. maybe we could follow suit.”

    Well, you used to have the mountain ranges and volcanoes. Why did you let the mountains erode and the crust move over millions of years, taking your active volcanoes with it? Thoughtless on your part.

    And, just yesterday in a post, we learned from the UK Guardian that what mountains you do have left will soon be under the sea. My question then was: “If the mountains will be under water, won’t the rest of the UK be under water first?” Will snorkeling in London replace soccer as the national sport?

  7. October 11, 2016 12:59 pm

    Hydro = ch4 emissions
    Geothermal = so2 emissions

  8. October 11, 2016 8:26 pm

    An obvious trick would be for the UK to simply merge with a country which has a lot of hydro ..and then the joinnt country would be greener than other countries like Germany/Poland etc

  9. October 11, 2016 8:34 pm

    Now which oligarch family in Costa Rica is almost bound to be connected with renewable energy subsidy collecting ?
    Of course Christiana Figueres family, her father was president 3 times, and her brother President of Costa Rica (1994–1998) .. He recently came back into the country after self exile when he admitted he’d taken $100K graft money from Alcatel.
    Such a surprise Christiana did not become the New Secretary General of the UN.
    (in news last week)

  10. tom0mason permalink
    October 11, 2016 11:58 pm

    Must be the main reason so many Americans retire there!

  11. October 17, 2016 8:34 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: