The United States Ambassador to San Jose Anne Andrew asserted that the Obama Administration seeks more opportunities for US firms to invest in the exploitation of clean energies in Costa Rica and elsewhere in Central America.
In an interview for La Nación, Ambassador Andrew said this will be one of the two topics which President Obama will emphasize during his visit to Costa Rica on May 3rd and 4th. The other priority will be inclusive economic development.
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According to the diplomat, there are many opportunities for US companies to develop projects of power generation based on sources such as the sun, the wind or natural gas.
For that reason – she continued -, President Obama will discuss with Presidenta Laura Chinchilla and her Central American peers where investment opportunities in this field are.
Ambassador Andrew quoted as an example the joint investment made by Ad Astra Rocket (Costa Rican) and Cummins Engine (US) to make generators fueled by hydrogen.
Ad Astra is chaired by astronaut Franklin Chang, who attended a meeting with President Obama at the White House to analyze the chances of investment in Central America and Mexico.
The diplomat added that the Embassy is aware of the situation which in Costa Rica is undergoing the US firm Mallon Oil Company, whose contract for oil and natural gas exploration in the northern zone of the country was halted by the Chinchilla Administration.
The Chinchilla Administration declared a moratorium on oil exploration, while regarding natural gas it is more in favor of importing the product.
However, the diplomat argued that natural gas is an opportunity which Costa Rica should consider to substitute energy from polluting sources.
Ambassador Andrew said that their position is, has been and will remain that Costa Rica has to provide a degree of certainty to firms like Mallon Oil in their investments.
Less Risks. Answering on legal security in Costa Rica, after pondering for a few seconds, the Ambassador asserted that this country should provide more certainty to large investors who seek the places with the least risk to establish themselves.
She asserted that 60% of the direct foreign investment flowing into Costa Rica comes from the United States and that the investors expect to get something back. She added her belief that Costa Rica remains highly attractive for US firms who want to do business here, but that the thing hinges on the opportunities Costa Rica can offer in the future.
Ambassador Andrew thinks that such investment is basic to attain the “economic security” which President Obama wants to promote in the region and which is linked to the generation of jobs.
When talking about cooperation, she went back to the topic of the production of power. She believes that mutual help can range from a simple exchange of electricity to the transfer of technology in areas such as energy production or efficiency.
In Costa Rica, the electricity supply system remains centered in the state Costa Rican Power Institution (ICE in Spanish). There is private participation, but it is limited.
Since the beginning, the Chinchilla Administration suggested a reform of the power sector to further open the market, but the reform has not made progress at the Legislative Assembly.
According to the US Ambassador, Costa Rica should not worry about a power network with 2010 technology but one with 2022 technology. She mentioned as a good example electric vehicles which not only are powered by electricity but which help feed the system.
Source: La Nacion