May 2019 became the month of greatest electricity generation for Costa Rica. According to data from the National Center for Energy Control (CENCE), during those 31 days, the National Electric System (SEN) produced 984.19 gigawatt hours, a figure that exceeds all historical monthly counts.
99.99% of this energy came from the five renewable sources of the national electricity matrix: water, geothermal energy, wind, biomass and sun. It is worth noting (see box) that the wind power supply suffered a significant fall in the fifth month of the year, since it only added 6.99%.
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – the state power company – suspended energy imports from the Regional Electricity Market (MER) from the first week of May, and from day 11, exports steadily. This tendency to sell electricity is maintained to date, with the benefit that revenues are directed to the reduction of local rates.
Previously, the highest production month was October 2017, with 976.84 gigawatt hours. It is relevant to indicate that this number occurred during the rainy season, and that the new brand was accumulated during the end of the dry season and the transition to the rainy season.
This achievement is the result of the planning and optimization of resources of the national matrix, which protects its regulation reservoirs in dry periods -as the one just faced- while increasing the geothermal quota. To this, eventually, the import of electricity is added and, as a last resort, the thermal backup.
Since 2015, Costa Rica has exceeded 98% of renewable generation in its electrical system. By 2019, and in spite of the strong effects of the El Niño phenomenon, this trend was maintained. Today, it reaches 97.96%, a figure that will increase with the intensification of rainfall in the second semester.