The year 2013 marked a significant tipping point in the history of clean energy: for the first time since 2000, the world installed more new solar photovoltaic generating capacity, 36.5 gigawatts, than wind power (35.5 GW). Biofuels and solar power will outpace wind power growth in the next 10 years, with solar increasing from $91.3 billion to $158.4 billion and biofuels from $97.8 billion to $145.6 billion.
A global leader in sustainable development
Costa Rica has been a leader in sustainable development, a model to the world. About 90% of its energy comes from renewable sources. The country has set a goal to become the first carbon neutral country.
A wide variety of clean energy sources account for that impressive figure. Hydroelectric generation predominates, with projects in the Caribbean region including Turrialba. But the nation also utilizes geothermic energy from the slopes of its volcanoes in Tilaran towards the Northern Pacific.
Costa Rica and its regional gateways, offering such diversity of energy sources and in close proximity to leading US testing sites for clean energy, is an ideal hub for energy R&D projects. Currently under way is research on hydrogen power by Ad Astra Rocket and solar energy by Earth University, both in the Northern Pacific areas, as well as by the National Institute of Technology, the University of Costa Rica and the National University, among others.
Additional strategies are being implemented to further diversify renewable sources with wind energy and more recently solar energy, an ideal activity in the North Pacific plains where sun exposure is intense almost year-round.
Other innovative efforts are taking place in Guanacaste with jatropha cultivation for biofuel production. Companies with important biological waste, including the aquaculture with tilapia in Guanacaste and tuna in the Central Pacific, use waste to produce methane gas used to generate energy to make their plants self-sufficient.