How Costa Rica Was Powered Almost Completely By Renewable Energy in 2016

Renewable energy. It’s not a new concept. In fact, the chances are you already know someone who’s taken the plunge. Businesses and individuals across the world are actively embracing renewable energy and going to great lengths to lead greener lives wherever they can. We can learn a lot from the direction these people are taking, and many countries are even going a step farther.

Consider Costa Rica. The Central American country has gained great praise and acclaim over the last year or so for its dedication to renewable energy. In fact, they went the whole year relying solely on renewable energy for their electricity. This is something in we could all stand to learn a valuable lesson from. If more countries in the world started to move toward this approach, we would eradicate the issues involved with fracking.


So what did Costa Rica do? And how did they do it?

Well, for more than 250 days last year the country ran completely on renewable energy. This was an increase on what they have managed in previous years, and hopefully, they’ll be able to achieve a full year in 2017.

All of their energy is not yet renewable, as the vehicles run on fossil fuels still. But it certainly marks a step where they can begin phasing out fossil fuels, and start relying on greener methods of energy. Using what the planet can offer us and channeling it to power our world is a wonderful concept and one that is being realized more and more.

Of course, the climate in a country helps hugely when we examine the effects and usage of renewable energy. Costa Rica often endures heavy rainfall, and this has been one of the key factors in their accomplishment. The heavy seasonal rains feed rivers and reservoirs, which in turn feed power stations and hydroelectric plants. This has led to renewables supplying over 98% of all the country’s electricity for a whole year.


Costa Rica are the unlikely pioneers of eco-friendly energy around the world. They have gone to great lengths to cut down on their carbon footprint. In addition to utilizing rainfall, the rest of the country’s national grid has been supplemented using wind, solar, and geothermal energy options. So, this proves that with the right hard work, dedication, and investment, countries the world over will be able to follow in the footsteps of the Costa Ricans.

What is important to remember though is that it isn’t as easy for other nations as it has been for Costa Rica. They have the geography and climate to be able to achieve this over the course of the year at an achievable level. For instance, they were able to shell out over $950 last year for geothermal projects, made easier due to the volcanic activity in the country.

However, consider a nation like the United States, and how much it differs from Costa Rica. The USA is much larger, more populous, and has less natural resources. It also produces around 350 times more electricity as a nation than Costa Rica does. To power the whole of America using renewable energy would be a colossal feat, and may not be achievable for quite some time.

It’s also worth noting that, despite the obvious benefits, there are also some drawbacks to using renewable energy on such a large scale. For instance, one of the major issues with renewable energy powering the country is that it leaves the nation a slave to climate change. This is a very real problem, in spite of what President-elect Trump may think, and nations need to be prepared for it.

Another thing that Costa Rica has in its favor here is the fact that it has had no military presence since 1948. This has freed up a huge portion of the country’s economic wealth, and leaves more cash to spend on things like renewable energy. Nations such as the United States have to put military first at all times, and so they are limited by what they are able to spend on renewable energy. That’s why marketing use of fossil fuels and fracking is still a popular choice throughout the US.

However, Costa Rica are still a shining beacon in the modern world showing the importance of renewable energy sources. And they have set a wonderful example to the rest of the world as well. China, one of the great superpowers of the world has also begun huge investment in renewable energy.

You may also be aware that the EU has started to integrate renewable energy plans for the next few years. Indeed, we have already seen this year that France has opened the world’s first solar panel paved road. This sets a huge precedent for the future and shows us the sorts of wonderful things we can do with renewable energy and solar power.