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Costa Rica Ran on Renewables for 250 Days in 2016

The country enjoyed a 110-day stretch of carbon-free electricity last year.The country enjoyed a 110-day stretch of carbon-free electricity last year.

Costa Rica Ended 2016 on a particularly green note. The Central American nation ran entirely on renewable energy for more than 250 days last year, the country's power operator announced.

Renewables supplied about 98.1% of Costa Rica's electricity for the year, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said. Fossil fuels provided the remaining 1.9%, digital media website Mashable reported.

The country of 4.9 million people gets most of its electricity from large hydropower facilities, which are fed by multiple rivers and heavy seasonal rains.

Geothermal plants and wind turbines are also prominent sources of power, while biomass and solar power provide a tiny but growing share of electricity. A few diesel-burning power plants round out the electricity mix, but Costa Rica has barely used them in the last two years.

The country enjoyed a 110-day stretch of carbon-free electricity from June 17 through Oct. 6, when the power company briefly turned on its fossil fuel plants.

Compared to larger, more industrialized countries, Costa Rica seems like a verdant gem amid a pile of black coal rocks. Costa Rica's smaller economy and natural resources give it an advantage over an energy-hungry powerhouse like the United States.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, only about 15% of the US electricity supply for January-October 2016 came from hydropower, wind, solar and other renewable sources.

 

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