Continuing on from Part 1: Exciting business opportunities in Costa Rica, with a focus on science and technology, in this second part, we will explore the renewable energy sector.
Production of clean sourced energy.
Costa Rica hopes to become the first Latin American country to use solely 100% renewable energy sources by 2021. This remarkable claim is not that far from being a reality. Currently, as of the 1st of January 2014 up until the 30th of June 2018, 98% of electricity generated in Costa Rica came from renewable energy sources. This equates to an impressive 1197 consecutive days of green energy consumption.
Is private investment permitted in Costa Rica?
YES: It is not just public institutions such as the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) or the National Company of Power and Light (CNFL) that are utilising renewable energy sources. In the period of 2006-2013, nearly US$1.7 billion of foreign investment was pumped into renewable energy production projects.
Main Energy Sources
- Water: Of the many renewable energy sources used in the country, 74.77% of all energy is produced in hydroelectric plants powered by waters in rivers and lakes. The main plants are Reventazón, Angostura, Arenal, Miguel Dengo and Cachí, all of which provide energy to approximately 700 homes. These plants are considered equal to those in the first world thanks to an impressive infrastructure, flow rate and years of being in operation.
- Heat: After hydroelectric energy, geothermal energy is the most used renewable energy source. There are 5 plants currently active and 3 more being developed. Volcanic activity in the isthmus creates astonishing amounts of vapour which allows for large amounts of energy production and low operation costs.
Currently, these geothermal plants provide nearly 200 Megavatios, equating to 16.3% of total national consumption.
These first two sources are the most utilised and exploited by public national companies. However, the production of wind energy is a source dominated by the private sector.
- Wind: Costa Rica is a pioneer for Latin American wind production. In 2017, wind energy was responsible for 11.5% of the energy produced and consumed in the country. The wind energy sector is most prevalent in the province of Guanacaste, where there are 16 wind farms, whilst Tilarán is the region which has the strongest winds throughout the year.
The other sources of energy used in Costa Rica are solar energy and biogas, which over the last 4 years have supplied roughly 1% of national consumption.
Perhaps the best market opportunities are in projects looking to boost wind and solar energy, both of which have slightly lower production rates in the country. The fact that they are the least exploited sources in Costa Rica has nothing to do with the cost involved in these methods of production. Wind and solar power are both available in abundance in Costa Rica and have a grand obtention cost of $0.
With support from a local Costa Rica partner, you will be able to identify exciting commercial opportunities in the region.
Infrastructural development of solar energy.
It is a commonly held belief in Costa Rica that solar energy production has been severely undervalued and this, in turn, has resulted in untapped potential with regards to the national solar energy sector. The Inter American Development Bank conducted a study on the national electricity production system. The study revealed that the solar energy usage along with short-term hydroelectric storage in dry locations with low water flow was “excellent”, the highest score available.
Furthermore, Costa Rica is devising a plan of action for the development of a technology that will reduce the production costs of solar and wind energy. This year, Costa Rica approved a loan of US$500 million from the Inter American Development Bank which will be invested entirely in the production and development of alternative energy sources.
Finally, the Costa Rican government has put in place many plans that will encourage the production of renewable energy and the development of new sources of alternative energy. For example, a study by the University of Costa Rica entitled “40 business ideas for the future of Costa Rica”, they began researching the possibility of developing energy generation activity through hydrogen and through plasma-based technology.
Partner with Biz Latin Hub and take advantage of market opportunities in Costa Rica
If you want to start conducting business in this innovative sector or want to know more about the available business opportunities in Costa Rica, contact our bi-lingual Country Coordinator, Josseline here. We will be able to talk you through our extensive suite of back-office services and instruct you on how to enter the Costa Rican market.
Need to hire staff in Costa Rica? Not sure of what options you have available? Check out the short presentation below and look at your different options to engage local staff in Costa Rica.