Costa Rica to Further Tap Its Geothermal Power Potential

arenal volcano photo

photo: Arden via flickr

When most people think of Costa Rica they probably think of natural beauty and coffee. Renewable energy isn’t high up on the list, which is I suppose is a question of publicity as much as anything else because renewable energy in the form of hydropower and geothermal both generate more electricity than fossil fuels (primarily oil) in the Central American nation. In any case, Costa Rica will soon be further tapping its geothermal power resources. Here are the details:Ormat to Complete New Geothermal Power Plant in 18 Months
Though the exact scale, in terms of megawatts, has not yet been revealed (or maybe determined), Nevada-based Ormat Technologies has announced that it has entered into a $65 million contract with Banco Centroamericano de Intergracíon Económia to build a geothermal power plan in Las Pailas Field, Costa Rica. Construction of the plant is expected to take 18 months.

This will be the second geothermal power plant built by Ormat in Costa Rica. The 18 MW Miravalles V power plant has been in operation since 2004.

Costa Rica’s Electricity Mix Overwhelmingly Renewable
According to the IEA, in 2006 (the last year for which they list this data), Costa Rica generated a whopping 94% of its electricity from renewable resources: 76% from hydro, 14% from geothermal, 3% from wind power, 1% from biomass. Now large scale hydro isn’t always the most environmental friendly was of generating power, but still...94%! And Costa Rica has proportionally three times as much wind power as the United States.

More: Ormat Technologies (press release)

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