QCOSTARICA – The pilot program for solar generation has run into a roadblock that may seal the fate of solar panel electrical generated electricity — it would have injected 10 megawatts of energy into the grid but it appears that no regulations exist to allow it to be connected.
It’s not that ICE has lacked the time — it got started in October of 2010 and has been under way up to Feb. 5. That was when ICE gave the order to stop installing panels. Although the project was extended in 2012, with more potency. the will was apparently lacking.
The sector pro renewable energy reacted with alarm at the announcement. Some 366 customers were hooked up to the pilot project and their contracts are for 15 years. Meanwhile, regulations are in the bailiwick of a half completed bill for congress and Environmental Ministry rules, which also includes energy.
The jobs of a thousand employees are also dangling from a thread, reported La Nacion. Acesolar, the renewable energy association, says that 600 jobs depend directly on solar generation and the industry is linked with biomass generation, biogas, mini-hydroelctical and other generation technologies.
Already, the technology developed within this project has allowed the Dutch firm of UTOPIGS Deporgen S.A. that produces pigs and tilapia, to install 80 photopanels on its 60-acre property at Chomes near Puntarenas. But cessation of the project means that the company may not be able to install 230 more panels to make the company carbon neutral.
The company that produces the panel also has a contract for another 450 panels which, if cancelled, could mean the end of the firm.
This failure of ICE to make known and profitable technology work brings into doubt whether the state operated electrical monopoly was ever really serious about the project. As this blog has noted many times before, ICE engineers are hydroelectric dam oriented and give short shrift to alternative sources.
The problem is that a small country is uncomfortable with sprawling reservoirs. Not only are dams expensive but they also slow to build and this country needs its electricity now. They are also vulnerable to periodic droughts. ICE has repeatedly dragged its feet in development of renewable energy.
The power company has also remained placid in the face of electrical rates that have driven international companies to seek less expensive production costs elsewhere. Once a showcase of progress, ICE has turned into a slow moving dinosaur that cannot keep up with the country’s power needs.
Unfortunately, the Solis Administration in the hands of the Citizen Action Party )PAC) seems to regard ICE as a sacred cow and has put off dealing with the nation’s electric problem until this year. During the election they seemed to make it clear that ICE is not to be reformed or even touched.
We predict the government project to lower electrical costs will either be put off again or be dealt with ineffectively. The world has moved into the 21st century but ICE has not, simply fighting off all efforts to give a little of its hoarded clout to private industry.
The Administration lacks the political will to roll up its sleeves and dig to the core of the problem. ICE wants more power but is giving less light than it should.