Costa Rica has emerged as a global environmental leader, with nearly100 percent of its power generated from renewable energy and its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.

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It is not quite 100% yet, but Costa Rica might get close this year because it has already chalked up over 300 days in which the entire country’s power needs have been met with renewable energy. Five renewable sources accounted for over 99% of the country’s power needs: 78% of electricity was produced by hydropower, over 10% from wind farms, another 10% from geothermal energy and the rest from biomass and solar energy.

Figures were released by the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), which cited figures from the National Center for Energy Control. The ICE also reported that 2017 is poised to become the biggest year for wind production in the country’s history, “with 1,014.82 gigawatt hours generated by 16 wind farms.”

 

Costa Rica also takes on single-use plastics

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On a different, but equally important issue, Costa Rican officials announced last June, their plan to become the world’s first country to achieve a comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.

The Central American nation has two long coastlines and its pristine beaches are often rimmed with plastic debris brought in by Caribbean and Pacific tides. The country’s plan is to replace ocean-clogging, single use products: like plastic produce bags, containers, plastic cutlery, straws and coffee stirrers with biodegradable or water-soluble alternatives or products made of natural and renewable materials. To really eliminate this problem, however, Costa Rica will need to share its goals with its neighbors, because floating plastic garbage does not respect national boundaries.

By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network

 

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