Costa Rica uses clean energy – level 3

01-04-2015 15:00

Could it be the cleanest country in the world? Costa Rica has managed to achieve a clean energy milestone by using only renewable energy for the first 75 days of the year, which is a record for any country.

Thanks to heavy rainfall this year, its hydroelectric plants alone are generating almost enough electricity to power the entire country. With a boost from geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, Costa Rica doesn’t need any coal or petroleum to keep the lights on. No fossil fuels have been burnt to generate electricity since December last year.

Costa Rica is known for its clean energy policies. Of course, though, the country does have a lot of things going in its favour. It’s a pretty small nation of less than 5 million people. It doesn’t have much of a manufacturing industry, which would require a lot of energy. Its economy relies on tourism and agriculture, particularly bananas and coffee. And it’s filled with volcanoes and lots of other things that lend themselves to renewable energy – its tropical climate with high rainfall and mountainous interior.

Costa Rica has a goal of being carbon neutral by 2021. New geothermal projects are already said to be in the planning stages to ensure that the country doesn’t have to rely on fossil fuels in the future. The Central American state’s government approved a 958-million-dollar geothermal project last year.

Geothermal energy is basically the heat from the earth. Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow grounds to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the earth’s surface. The first plant, when completed, is expected to make 55 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 55,000 homes. And there are plans for a further two 50 megawatts plants to be built nearby. You may be thinking a 958 million dollar project is a lot of money, but reportedly, Costa Rica hasn’t had a military since 1948, so while saving money on defence, it’s got lots left over to spend on projects like this.

Difficult words: achieve (to earn), milestone (record), renewable energy (clean energy), hydroelectric plant (energy plant that runs on water), boost (big help), geothermal (energy plant that runs on heat),  fossil fuel (coal and oil), policy (rule), in its favor (this is good for the country), manufacturing industry (industry which makes things), agriculture (growing crops), lend (to be suitable), interior (middle), carbon neutral (without burning things to make energy),  approve (to allow), range (to include a few things), shallow (not deep).



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