The country of Costa Rica was the first in the world to actually power 285 days of 2015 with renewable energy and this initiative has put them in the global spotlight. Costa Rica gets most of it’s power, at least 75 percent of it from hydro electricity as it has vast river systems and an abundant rainfall that comes during the rainy season from April until late November that enables them to do so. The rest of the energy comes from geothermal, biomass, wind and solar sources. And now a new $2.3 billion hydroelectric plant will be coming into operation in the next few months to improve this number even more. In the process of going to renewable energy sources Costa Rica has managed to reduce energy costs by 12 percent and the local power provider ICE expects that to go down even more for the future. Costa Rica has a population of about 4.8 million people.
Eventually the country will move away from hydropower energy where it gets most of its power generated by geothermal and win sources. The plan is to retire its heavy fuel oil powered Moin plant in 2017 and that includes taking its public transportation sector away from fossil fuels. Looking to the future, the country is committed to building an electric train system that will be integrated with public buses and the government is now passing a bill that will lower the prices of electric cars so that the oil powered cars can be replaced. Many years ago Costa Rica cleaned up their air with strict car emissions laws where every year cars must pass tests in order to for them to be on the roads legally.
More countries are in the Caribbean including several other islands like Aruba, Belize, St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have all pledged to go 100 percent renewable, through the Ten Island Challenge, created by Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room.
Other major North American cities that are looking to go 100% renewable energy are San Diego, Vancouver and Las Vegas. Sweden also made headlines earlier this year when it pledged to be among the first countries to go fossil free. Hawaii pledged to do so by 2045—the most ambitious standard set by a U.S. state thus far.
Samso in Denmark became the world’s first island to go all in on renewables several years ago. Most recently, Uruguay, three U.S. cities—Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Greensburg, Kansas—along with Kodiak Island, Alaska, have all made the transition.
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