Costa Rica has taken one more large step towards the countries goal of generating 95% of its electricity through renewable resources with the recent announcement that Costa Rica will be building 3 geothermal power plants. This broke on Tuesday (November 19th) when President Laura Chinchilla announced that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would be providing Costa Rica with loan valued at $560 million over 40 years.
All four of the new geothermal plants will be built around the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano which has been the focus of the all of the recent geothermal power talks in the country. The first Plant, Pailas II, will cost an estimated $333 million to build and will have a power generation capacity of around 55 megawatts. Each megawatt has delete Has contains enough energy to power around 1,000 homes!
The second two slightly smaller plants will built about 40 kilometers away from the first plant and have the ability to generate 50 megawatts each.
How does a Geothermal Power Plant Work
The short way to describe this is that a geothermal power plant captures steam from vents (both natural or man made) around a volcano and uses that steam to turn turbines that generate the power.
My thoughts on the Geothermal Power in Costa Rica
Those of you who read my article on this topic earlier this year will know I am all for geothermal power as a renewable resource in Costa Rica. For many year now Costa Rica has struggled with power shortages and with the countries goal of achieve 95% renewable energy it has gotten even worse. The problem with Hydroelectric and wind powered energy is that it is always susceptible to ebb and flow of nature. Some days there is no wind and some years there is very little rain leading to power shortages.
With geothermal power plants you are looking at a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year renewable power generator!
Every Country needs to work towards renewable energy goals and part of that is working with the resources you have available and one of those resources unique to Costa Rica is a plethora of Volcanoes both active and in-active. So why not harness the power of nature, and trust me there will be plenty of people watching to make sure the environmental impact made is as little as possible. So all in all this is a great step for a country that is swiftly moving forward to the forefront of sustainability.