Wind energy in Costa Rica: ICE Could Soon Produce 100 Megawatts of Wind Power

As part of Costa Rica’s initiative to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021, the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) recently announced that 140 megawatts of clean electricity will be delivered to households and businesses by 2015.

According to a recent article by Stephan Nielsen of Bloomberg financial media, ICE is committed to producing 100 megawatts of electricity from different wind power farms in Costa Rica, and 40 megawatts from hydroelectric plants from now until 2015. Mr. Nielsen cited e-mail sources from ICE.

While Costa Rica has thus far concentrated on carbon-neutrality efforts such as payment for environmental services and reforestation, the country needs to do more in order to achieve the ecological goal by 2021. Reducing the amount of electricity produced by burning fossil fuels is now a priority in Costa Rica, even though the country has enjoyed the benefit of hydroelectricity for many decades.

December 31st, 2015 will be the cutoff date for construction of fossil-fuel burning electricity plants in Costa Rica. From that date on, all future new plants will be either hydroelectric or wind power farms.

A previous article in The Costa Rica Star explained how in the hills of Santa Ana, overlooking the city of Escazu and its ritzy suburbs, construction crews from the National Power and Electricity Company (CNFL in Spanish) have begun work on the future Planta Eólica Valle Central (the Wind Power Farm of the Central Valley). When completed, this project is expected to produce 15.3 megawatts of energy among 17 wind-power generators that will bring electricity to almost 6,000 families.

The Wind Farm of the Central Valley is just one of the wund turbines projects that government-sponsored companies like CNFL, ICE and others are rushing to complete in order to achieve Costa Rica’s goal of becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2021. In the area of creating electricity from renewable sources, public utilities are looking at new hydroelectricity projects in Pirris, wind-power farms in Los Santos that will power communities in El Guarco and Desamparados, as well as geothermic plants in Garabito, Moin and Pailas.

While Costa Rica will become an even greener country with clean electricity, other countries will undergo an ecological sacrifice. Each wind-power generator and turbine will contain hundreds of pounds of rare earth, a precious mineral that is mined indiscriminately in China, where open-pit mining projects of rare earth are creating ecological disasters. Such is the case of Baotou, a barren Chinese city that The New York Times once described as a place where the air smells and tastes acrid and metallic.