Costa Rica will be beating its own record again for most consecutive days of using solely renewable energy, with 300 days so far this year.
In 2015, it set a record of 299 days on renewable energy, then hitting 299 in 2017.
Costa Rica gets its clean energy from a variety of sources. Hydropower makes up 78% of the country’s renewal energy, and wind and geothermal each making up to 10%, followed by biomass and solar each at around 1%.
While the feat of nearly one year using only clean energy is an impressive feat, the figure only applies to electricity. Gasoline and natural gas usage for powering vehicles were not surveyed.
Monica Araya — an economist, clean development adviser for Costa Rica and director of Costa Rica Limpia — called the latest accomplishment “fantastic,” but readily admitted that the country still has a way to go in terms of clean energy.
Araya explained, “It hides a paradox, which is that nearly 70% of all our energy consumption is oil.”
Earlier this year, the country became the first to ban fossil fuels. In May, the country’s new president, Carlos Alvarado, during his inauguration made the announcement of their plan to become the first decarbonized country in the world, ending fossil fuel use by 2021, the same year the country marks its 200th anniversary of independence.
“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation, and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” Alvarado declared. “We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”
“When we reach 200 years of independent life, we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate … that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he promised.
Costa Rica, which has no army, now plans to get off fossil fuel entirely in the next few years. This is what leadership looks like. https://t.co/4imkUfIrjm
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) May 12, 2018
Yet, the country suffers from the same curse as every other nation in the world — too many automobiles.
As a result, while carbon emissions from electricity generation by the State power and telecom, the Instituto Costarrisence de Electricidad (ICE) are falling, emissions from internal combustion engines are soaring.
Vehicular traffic in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of San Jose seems to grow worse by the day. A small percentage of the more than 1,4 million vehicular fleet in Costa Rica are electrics and hybrids.