Costa Rica ran on 100 percent renewable energy for 76 straight days between June and August this year, according to a new report, demonstrating that life without fossil fuels is possible – for small countries, at least.

 

According to Costa Rica’s National Centre for Energy Control, June 16, 2016 was the last day this year that fossil fuels-based energy was used by the national grid.

The country has been powered on a mix of hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar energy, with hydro power providing about 80.27 percent of the total electricity in the month of August.

Just like last year, when Costa Rica managed to power itself for a total of 299 days without burning oil, coal, or natural gas, 2016’s milestone was helped along by heavy rainfalls at the country’s four hydroelectric power facilities.

Just like last year, when Costa Rica managed to power itself for a total of 299 days without burning oil, coal, or natural gas, 2016’s milestone was helped along by heavy rainfalls at the country’s four hydroelectric power facilities.

While the achievement is undoubtedly impressive, and something that should definitely be celebrated as proof that a range of renewable energy sources can lessen a country’s reliance on fossil fuels, it’s important to note that Costa Rica’s success is largely due to its size.

It has a total area of about 51,000 square kilometres – about half the size of the US state of Kentucky – and it has a population of just 4.9 million people.

But just because the country is small and is doing better at ditching fossil fuels than most, that doesn’t mean it’s going to rest on its laurels.

As Gallucci reports, a massive hydroelectric project called Reventazón, run by the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE), will come online later this month, after six years of construction, which means even more hydro power is in store.

“Revantazón is the largest public infrastructure project in Central America, after the Panama Canal,” says Gallucci. “The dam’s five turbines will have a generating capacity of 305.5 megawatts – enough to power around 525,000 homes.”

We can’t wait to see how far Costa Rica can go with their extensive renewable energy sources. Let’s hope 365 days of zero fossil fuels is on the horizon.

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Brent Lindeque
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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