Untapped Geothermal Potential

Costa Rica spent in 2010 $ 164 million in oil to generate electricity, while it wastes 1,000 MW of geothermal potential.

Monday, January 10, 2011

According to current legal framework and planning, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad expects to generate 4,018 megawatts by the year 2016, of which only 35 MW will come from geothermal sources; it represents only 2% of the total. The 35 MW will be contributed by the Pailas Geothermal Power Plant, expected to enter production in 2012.

Considering Costa Rica´s vast underground geothermal potential Nacion.com states on its editorial that, "The dogmatic rejection to use the geothermal energy inside national parks, which was established long ago, is an ecological contradiction and an economic madness." It also emphasizes, "…….for years, ICE insists on their desire and need to exploit geothermal energy, but the Legislature has been unable to respond to such urgency by not approving the necessary legal framework. If it had, the country would at least have 1,000 megawatts of additional power generation to replace fossil fuel burning."

More on this topic

How to Mitigate the Risks of Geothermal Energy

August 2016

Insurance coverage, tax incentives and drilling costs shared between private businesses and governments are some of the proposals put forward for exploiting geothermal potential in Central America.

A global study by the World Bank analyzes the reasons why it has not been possible to take full advantage of geothermal energy in Latin America, highlighting countries such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, whose potential to generate energy through this renewable source has still not been fully exploited, mainly because of the high risks involved in geothermal projects in their early stages.

Push for Geothermal Power Generation

September 2012

As a way of diversifying the energy matrix the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) is promoting projects for geothermal power generation.

In the country, 78% of energy is generated from sources which are affected by changes in weather conditions.

"Concern about these changes and how these changes could affect the production of electricity has motivated the decision this year to undertake two studies on the subject", reports Nacion.com.

Geothermal Energy in Nicaragua

March 2012

The volcanic mountain range of los Maribios could potentially generate more than 1,500 megawatts for the country.

Studies by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) estimate that the volcanoes of the Los Maribios range, along the Pacific area, could give the country a generation potential of more than the 1,500 megawatts in 12 areas or geothermal fields, a capability that could liberate Nicaragua from dependence on oil as a source of electricity.

Costa Rica: $1.5 million in Geothermal Energy Exploration

October 2009

ICE is exploring two steam fields in the country's west, in order to install two new geothermal plants, called Las Palias II and Borinquen.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has invested $1.5 million in materials, for performing 10 exploratory drills, which can reach a depth of 3.000 meters.

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