Costa Rica surpassed 98% of renewable generation in its Sistema Eléctrico Nacional (SEN) – National Electric System – for the fourth consecutive year. As of Wednesday, October 3, electricity from water, wind, geothermal energy, biomass and the sun has accounted for 98.15% of the total produced in the country. (See infograph below).
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – Costa Rican Institute of Electricity – projected that, for the rest of the year, the thermal backup will be used at a minimum or that it will not even be necessary. This will lead to the accumulated percentage of renewable generation remaining above 98%.
ICE says that the reservoirs – Arenal, Cachí, Reventazón, Pirrís, and Angostura – have been vital to achieving four consecutive years with such a high clean production. These have saved the water from intense periods of rain for electricity generation when rainfall has decreased.
In addition, reservoirs have allowed variable sources – such as wind – to be integrated more widely into the national matrix. 2018 will be the second year in the history of the country in which wind occupies the position number two in contribution, behind the water.
“The national system is sufficiently robust to adapt to climate variability or eventualities without losing its renewable profile. The clean generation of electricity provides a significant boost to national decarbonization goals and contributes to a healthy environment for all Costa Ricans,” explained Luis Pacheco, ICE’s corporate director of Electricity.
The last day registered in which the ICE had to resort to thermal backup with the Garabito plant due to electricity demand was on May 17. Since then, they have spent 140 consecutive days of 100% renewable generation in the SEN.