Costa Rica 100% Renewable for 75 Days


Costa Rica, a nation part of the few nations that connect South America to North America stated that it has been running on 100% renewable energy for the first 75 days of the year. An amazing feat no doubt, questions are now being asked how this was done and what factors caused this and if it can be replicated.

The majority of the power (around 70%) came from hydropower. Heavy rains in the region allowed reservoirs to be filled, fully utilising the resource. However, the year before there was a record drought, therefore hydropower was not as effective as it could have been. Drought and hydro don’t go well. In California where the drought has now hit, hydropower will be ramped down and fossil fuels will have to replace the loss in supply. In the UK, river projects are booming and there is a growing push to increase small-scale projects.

To combat the lack of rainwater threat, a drive for geothermal is happening, not only in Costa Rica, but also sub-Saharan Africa where drought is all too common. Taking advantage of the volcanic area, Costa Rica is rightfully diversifying. Geothermal provides steady electricity and heat output. This has worked well for Iceland which has been 100% renewable for some time.

Adding to the mix is solar, still emerging in Costa Rica, a nation that has twice as much sunshine as Germany, who once managed to get 50% of demand met by solar on a weekend in the summer.

Overall, Costa Rica is proof that a fully diversified mix of generation can and will add up to sustainable, reliable, and cheaper electricity for a nation. The health benefits of not relying on diesel or coal generation are also to be noted.

Alfa Energy Group

Alfa Energy Group, an Edison Energy company, is an international energy, sustainability and technology consultant partner with 250 employees over 3 international locations. For over 25 years, Alfa has been servicing its clients’ needs through energy and water management, sustainability, and compliance consulting, and an intuitive ecosystem of user-driven energy, water, and carbon management software platforms. With coveted awards, an international industry-wide recognition, and clever simple solutions, today Alfa is partnering with clients to establish and deliver pivotal net zero strategies. Through smart energy management, the expertise and diligence of its people, transparent processes, and data management, Alfa continues to lead through its recognised gold standard of service delivery.