Costa Rica is a global darling in the realms of renewable energy, with 3,136.8 MW out of the country’s total installed capacity of 3,517.7 MW dedicated to renewable energy in 2022 – that is 89%. Even more striking, over 99% of power generation during this period hailed from renewable sources, marking a consistent trend since 2015 when renewable electricity generation surpassed 98%. The nation harbors ambitious goals, aiming for a complete shift to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
At the heart of this green revolution is hydropower, maintaining an average share of around 72.2% in total electricity generation over the past five years. Complementing this consistency, geothermal energy accounts for 12.7% of electricity generation, closely followed by wind energy at 10.8% in 2022. Wind and solar energy, gaining prominence, have overtaken the minimal share held by oil, which dwindled to approximately 11% by 2022 in terms of installed capacity1. Blessed with abundant natural resources like rainfall, rivers, volcanic regions, and ample sunlight, Costa Rica has harnessed these elements to diversify its energy portfolio.
Costa Rica’s commitment to renewable energy extends beyond environmental benefits. The country has reaped economic rewards by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and even generating surplus energy for export. By 2019, Costa Rica had generated over $180 million in excess energy sales to neighboring nations. Ambitious government targets, coupled with strategic policies, have fueled this growth. Notably, the country redirected military expenditures towards building hydropower facilities and rural infrastructure, showcasing a unique approach to fostering sustainable development. Furthermore, Costa Rica aspires to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2050, aligning with the global consensus outlined in the Paris Agreement.
While Costa Rica marches confidently towards its renewable energy goals, challenges persist, particularly in the transport sector, which is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. However, Costa Rica’s proactive stance is evident through initiatives promoting electric vehicles and sustainable transportation. Initiatives such as expanding the electric bus and train network, offering incentives like tax exemptions for electric vehicle purchases, and installing charging stations reflect a concerted effort to tackle these challenges. The National Energy Plan 2015–2030 has set ambitious targets, envisioning an 85% zero-emission public transportation fleet by 2050. As Costa Rica marches towards a renewable energy future, its journey embodies hope and optimism for a greener, more sustainable world.