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Costa Rica: the first country to run on 100 percent renewable energy

07 April 2015

John Straw, author of iDisrupted, believes Costa Rica is supporting his prediction that the future will be bleak for traditional energy businesses.

Burlington, in the USA was one of the first cities in the world to run on renewable energy; now Costa Rica has becomes the first country to do so - a huge achievement for Costa Rica, says the outspoken futurist, John Straw, but a "huge worry" for traditional energy companies.

Marking what, by any standard, is an environmental milestone, Costa Rica has announced that it used only renewable resources to generate power for the first 75 days of the year, a first for any country.

"Even though Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries in the world, there's clearly a determination and principle here," says Straw. "It's been 75 days since Costa Rica's power grid last had a sip of petroleum and thanks to heavy rainfall at the start of the year, the Central American nation has been able to provide 100 percent of its energy needs via renewable resources.

Some 80 percent of Costa Rica's entire energy budget comes from its four hydroelectric plants, with another 13 percent derived from geothermal stations and solar, wind and fossil fuels round out the remaining 7 percent.

Of course, fossil fuel alternatives are not without drawbacks. The nation's hydro-electric dams may be working at capacity right now, thanks to those heavy rains at the start of the year, but should the country face drought (or even just seasonal water shortages), it may have to revert back to its fossil fuel reserves in order to keep the lights on.

How soon will other nations be able to replicate this? Thanks to advancements in energy storage and battery technology, Straw is confident that other countries will follow suit in the future and, to quote him: "demolish the balance sheets of traditional energy businesses."

Recently, Burlington made history by becoming the first US city to run 100 percent on renewable energy. According to an article published in Fastcoexist: “The city runs on a mix of biomass, wind, solar, hydro, a little bit of landfill gas, and a few other renewable sources. At a given time, if the renewable plants aren’t producing enough power, the utility might buy traditional power. But they also produce and sell enough extra green power that, over the course of a year, the total is 100 percent renewable."

"The energy advancements from Burlington and Costa Rica have come a lot sooner than sceptics would have imagined," Straw adds. "When new battery technology becomes mainstream it won't be long until other cities and countries are practically one hundred percent green energy producers."

John Starw's book, iDisrupted is available from selected book shops and Amazon. For more information, click here.

Les Hunt

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