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Energy has always intrigued me but recently even more and I began to some in depth research and what I have found of energy production in Costa Rica is very interesting! Part of what caught my attention is a decree signed by Laura Chinchilla (The Chinchilla administration has asked electrical distributors to come up with pilot plans so that customers can generate their own power and market the excess. The request from the central administration was in the form of two decrees issued March 15, 2011 and published just before Easter in the La Gazeta official newspaper. The significance of the decrees was largely overlooked, according to industry sources. The Chinchilla decrees, however, gave the price regulator, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios P√∫blicos two months to come up with tariffs that would promote individual production of electrical power. The president also asked the electrical institute to come up with financing options as quickly as possible that would accelerate the development of this type of power generation.) and ever since I have kept my eyes and ears open.


As we are in the process of turning our water project in Santiago Springs over to a public water system I have been in contact with Felix Quesada and through a conversation with him I came in contact with Mr. John Bowman. Mr. Bowman is to blame or fame for most of the small/medium turbines and generators sold in this country.

 

John came to Quepos, Costa Rica with his parents in 1941. As a small boy his dad was in charge of a department of The United Fruit Company here in the country and so John is very much a pioneer in this country. He now lives with his wife in San Jose.

Here a couple weeks ago Mr. John invited me along with two Colombians to accompany him to visit three small hydro-projects in the San Carlos area. John sold the turbines and generators to all of these and is stock holder in the last one we visited! Without a doubt I have come in contact with very likely the best source of information on the subject in the country!

The production of clean energy is a must if this country is to succeed in anything. And investors are catching on as there are already many projects under way, and as soon as the decree is passed in congress there will be many, many more I am sure. There are already five new wind projects under way in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica already has 116 megawatts (One megawatt is equal to one million watts, so for instants, one megawatt can power 1000 homes.) of wind power on five existing wind farms.

A group of Italian investors led by Valerio Catullo plans to produce wind power for the first time taking advantage of wind currents in Cañas, Guanacaste.

The initiative, called Montes de Oro Wind Project, will produce an output of 20 megawatts (MW) through eight wind turbines installed in a farm of 105 hectares. This farm will be added to the five that already operate in the country.

The first of these developed wind farms is Los Leones which will generate 27 MW. It has estimated an investment of $60 million. $2.2 million is the average value of each turbine. At this point they are considering two options: installing between 27 and 30 wind turbines with a capacity of 900 MW or about 11 with 2.5 MW power each. The area of Guayabo is favorable for this type of activity having to be between two volcanoes, there is no turbulence and wind conditions are ideal.


The other project the canton receives is the Bagaces Guayabo Wind, which expects the environmental endorsement soon.
Gustavo Echeverri told the group of entrepreneurs who make up the two companies involved, that it takes about 15 years researching the scope of the winds.
In Guayabo ESPH is in partnership with the owner of the farm, Jorge Campos, who maintains a confidentiality agreement.

So far, in the town of Bagaces, the only electricity generating wind is the Wind Guanacaste, but there are five geothermal with ICE in charge.

Gabriela Mendez, Deputy Mayor of Bagaces, said the community welcomes these investments, not only because they are friendly and clean energy, but a source of employment and even become a tourist attraction.

While Guanacaste stands today as the birthplace of wind projects, other areas of the country also have their initiatives, like the National Company of Electricity and Power (CNFL) in Pavilion Santa Ana and the Rural Electrification Cooperative of Los Santos (Coopesantos) in this region. In fact the next time you cross the Cerro de La Muerte en route to southern Costa Rica you will see all the new towers being put up on the mountain. Coopesantos will have 15 turbines for 13 MW of annual production.

Nat Yoder



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