Using a mix of hydro, wind, solar and its abundant supply of geothermal energy, the small country showed that you don’t need fossil fuels to keep the lights on.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone who’s been keeping tabs on Costa Rica.As of 2014, 99% of its electricity was derived from renewable energy sources – but there is a certain symbolism to getting all your energy from renewables.
Most of the energy in Costa Rica comes from hydro sources, but they’ve complemented their other sources brilliantly. The country has invested greatly in renewable energy, especially because it don’t have a military: on December 1, 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica after victory in the civil war in that year. This turned out to be a great thing for the small nation. The fact that the government does not need to spend millions of dollars on the defense budget and instead invests in social programs and renewable energy generation, and the results are the ones we see today.
Costa Rica’s record of running for 113 days on renewables only is still ongoing. They plan to be free from fossil fuels in just five years and to solidify the electrical grid, which is still vulnerable and often causes power drops. Geothermal energy is also expected to play a more important role and take some of the burden away from hydro plants, which have some environmental downsides and are vulnerable to droughts.