For seventy-five days straight the nation of Costa Rica has not burned any fossil fuels. As a result of heavy rainfall, hydropower plants are generating almost all the country’s electricity. Coal and petroleum have not been necessary thanks to geothermal, wind, and solar energy sources. Costa Rica is fortunate in that its population is fewer than five million people, does not have a large manufacturing industry, and boasts topographical features like volcanoes that make renewable energy possible. In addition, the country has not had to spend money on defense since its military has been non-existent since 1948.
Although reliance on renewable energy may more difficult for the rest of the world, it is still an impressive feat for any nation to do away with fossil fuels completely. Other territories have followed in Costa Rica’s footsteps. A Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela operates on nearly 100% renewable energy sources. Denmark obtains 40% of its energy from wind and plans to stop fossil fuel usage by 2050. Although our world is showing a trend toward renewable energy, there still needs to be backup because wind, sunshine, and rainfall are not guaranteed.
Myles Gough, “Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days,” Science Alert, March 20, 2015, http://www.sciencealert.com/costa-rica-powered-with-100-renewable-energy-for-75-days.
Adam Epstein, “Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy,” Quartz, March 23, 2015, http://qz.com/367985/costa-rica-is-now-running-completely-on-renewable-energy/.
Student Researcher: Lauren Kemmeter (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)