As of 2023, Costa Rica has a considerable amount of its electricity generated from low-carbon sources. The country generates more than 11 TWh of electricity from low-carbon sources, with the majority, around 8 TWh, coming from hydropower, while wind and geothermal energy contribute almost 1.5 TWh each. Compared to the global average of 410 watts per person, Costa Rica's current levels of electricity generation are impressive. Given that a significant portion of its electricity is produced using low-carbon methods, the country is making substantial progress in the transition to a clean energy economy and reducing its carbon emissions. The positive side effects of this transition are visible in various sectors like the environment and public health, as reduced emissions help improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Looking at examples from other nations, Costa Rica stands to benefit significantly from expanding existing wind capacity, a proven low-carbon technology already generating large amounts of electricity in the country. For instance, China and the United States have successfully generated 941 TWh and 423 TWh respectively from wind energy. By learning from these nations' success stories, Costa Rica can take informed steps to amplify their own wind power infrastructure. Countries like Brazil, a tropical country similar to Costa Rica, could serve as an excellent model. Brazil has successfully incorporated wind energy into their energy matrix, generating 94 TWh of electricity.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Costa Rica has seen consistent progress, particularly within the last few decades. The country started harnessing hydropower in the 1980s, seeing gradual increases in generated electricity, with minor fluctuations in the mid-1990s. Hydropower generation continued to capitalize in the 2000s and 2010s, making hydropower the predominant method of low-carbon energy production in Costa Rica. In 2018, wind energy made headway with an increase of 0.5 TWh in electricity generation, showing potential for diversifying the country's low-carbon energy portfolio. Meanwhile, the use of geothermal energy received a boost in 1992 and again in 2019, each time with an increase of 0.5 TWh. Costa Rica's journey in low-carbon electricity reflects a continuous “green” effort and commitment towards sustainable development.