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CR Electric Grid:  98% renewable…but not perfect

Last’s months “planned power shutdown” announcements from Grupo ICE sent a lot of people to social media to exclaim their anger, amazement, disbelief, and bewilderment at not having power for a few hours.

We misinterpret Costa Rica’s claims of renewable energy to mean it’s perfect and a blackout is out of context. Therefore, the result is a false belief in a system that is eco-driven and therefore, depends on the “eco”. 

Struck by the worst drought in five decades, Costa Rica announced an electricity rationing plan in mid-May, blaming a severe lack of rainfall that has hobbled hydroelectric plants.

The Central American nation is famed for its beaches and lush landscapes that power ecotourism normally gets about 70% of its electricity supply from the plants.

State-run electricity company ICE has blamed the drought conditions partly on the weather phenomenon known as El Nino.

The outage schedules were adjusted due to some rainfall.

Costa Rica’s Eco Power Grid still serves as a beacon of sustainable energy practices, showcasing the nation’s dedication to reducing its carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels. Despite notable successes, challenges and limitations hinder the grid’s efficiency and reliability. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of Costa Rica’s eco-power grid, examining both its achievements and areas requiring improvement to ensure a more sustainable energy future.

Introduction to Costa Rica’s Eco Power Grid

Costa Rica’s eco power grid has garnered global recognition for its emphasis on renewable energy sources. While the country has made significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint, challenges persist in ensuring a consistent and secure energy supply.

The country proudly generates 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, with hydropower leading as the primary energy source. This impressive figure underscores Costa Rica’s dedication to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

Admittedly, that percentage will vary with the increase in population, development, and power usage.

Challenges and Limitations in Costa Rica’s Eco Power Grid

Even though Costa Rica’s eco-power grid has been pretty successful, it’s not without its fair share of challenges. One big issue is the fact that renewable energy sources like solar, hydro, and wind power can be a bit unpredictable. This can cause problems with the stability and reliability of the grid as the country experienced in May.

Another problem is that Costa Rica’s eco-power grid has had some issues with instability. This can make it tough to rely on a steady supply of energy. Trying to balance the demand for electricity with the ups and downs of renewable sources is no easy task.

Changes in the weather can throw a wrench in the works, making it harder for Costa Rica to generate electricity consistently. Seasonal shifts and extreme weather events can really tangle the country’s energy production.

It is hoped that the country will continue to research and invest in improving the reliability of the eco-power grid.  The emerging booming technology offers some possibilities to consider.

So the system is not perfect, a reality that locals and expats need to recognize and adjust to. For the motto of “pura vida”, we seem to forget that when it goes dark.

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