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.
This is the second time in two years that the Central American country has run for more than two months straight on renewables alone, and it brings the 2016 total to 150 days and counting.
According to Costa Rica’s National Centre for Energy Control (CENCE), 16 June 2016 was the last day this year that fossil fuels-based energy was used by the national grid. (Data for September is still forthcoming.)
Since then, 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.
Geothermal plants contributed roughly 12.62 percent of electricity generation in August, while wind turbines provided 7.1 percent, and solar 0.01 percent.
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.
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