Costa Rica’s Green Energy Feat Shows Hope For The Planet

Green energy beacons continue to pop up around the world — from a small Scandinavian island to a Japanese resort town to other first-world enclaves such as Burlington, Vermont. But one source of lessons and inspiration in the transition to renewable energy may come as a bit of a surprise: a developing Central American country.

As nearly 200 nations pledged to wean themselves off climate-disrupting fossil fuels earlier this month in Paris, Costa Rica was already well on its way — proving, according to some experts, that major moves to stave off catastrophic climate change were indeed possible and practical.

Nearly all of the energy produced in Costa Rica during 2015 came from renewable sources — 99 percent as of Dec. 17 — including 285 days during which the small Central American country completely eschewed fossil fuels in its energy generation, according to official data. (The nation’s roads, like much of the world, are still filled with fossil-fuel-guzzling vehicles.)

Back in March, the nation broke a world record for the longest streak of relying solely on renewable energy for electricity: 75 days. Among the effects were lower electricity prices for Costa Rican residents.

The newly adopted Paris climate agreement has sent a powerful signal: the world will need to leave fossil fuels behind if we are to achieve climate security this century,” Monica Araya, executive director at Nivela, a Costa Rica-based environmental group, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Costa Rica is well positioned to be a trail blazer in this clean-energy transition.”

Andrea Watson, section manager for strategy and implementation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, agreed that this is “absolutely a signal” of the world’s potential to head down the right path. —> Read More