Costa Rica gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric plants and a recent period of unusually heavy rain allowed the country to reach the milestone.
This month, Costa Rica’s state-run electricity company announced that the country had gone 75 days using only renewable resources for electricity. Costa Ricans are the first in the world to power their country for so long without the use of fossil fuels, and the record-breaking achievement was quickly picked up by news agencies all over the world.
For an area this large to go this long running on strictly renewable energy is truly unprecedented, although Costa Rica is a small country.
This year, Costa Rica saw heavy rainfalls, which were harnessed by a number of hydroelectric plants that have been built in the country. According the government agency, there have been no fossil fuels used to generate electricity since December of last year.
In addition to the hydroelectric plants, the country also has a number of geothermal energy sites, which account for 10% of the region’s energy reserves. New geothermal projects are expected to develop in the coming year as well.
“It’s good news that more geothermal will be coming on board, as there are obvious downsides of being too reliant on hydropower, especially run-of-the-river systems, which can be hindered by seasonal changes in water flow,” Jake Richardson, of Clean Technica told Science Alert. Jake Richardson, of Clean Technica told Science Alert.
“Droughts can also severely impact power supplies. And there are also some environmental downsides to hydroelectric dams more generally, namely the impact on riparian ecosystems and passing fish,” he added.