by Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project:
For over 100 days in 2016, Costa Rica has generated all of its electricity from hydro, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal sources — 100 percent renewable energy.
In fact, the small Latin American nation has gone at least 121 days without resorting to fossil fuels to power its electric grid — and plans to finish the year powered only by green energy.
Considering the country’s astonishing record last year, perhaps the news isn’t surprising: For all of 2015, Costa Rica sourced 99 percent of its power from renewables — including a full 285 days 100 percent free from fossil fuels.
As Inhabitat explains:
“Costa Rica is able to take advantage of a multitude of renewable energy sources because of its unique climate and terrain. Most of the nation’s renewable energy comes from hydropower, due to its large river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. Solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy also play key roles.”
During the first three months of 2016 — despite crippling drought conditions — Costa Rica still managed to generate 97 percent of its energy without the help of polluting fossil fuel sources.
According to an April article in the Tico Times, the country’s state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) “now considers fossil fuels a backup energy generation source.”
Costa Ricans whose personal solar panels generate a surplus are able to store the excess in the national grid under a program started in March.
Although the small nation certainly leads the fight to reduce fossil fuel energy generation, it by no means stands alone.
Sweden draws half of its power from renewables, as the prime minister applauded the country’s attempt to become the “first fossil fuel-free” nation in the world, the Independent reported.
Denmark became the planet’s leader for energy sourced from wind — nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electricity came from its extensive wind turbine installations in 2014.
Even Portugal managed to run for 107 straight days without using any fossil fuel-based sources earlier this year. Coal and natural gas had provided the bulk of Portugal’s energy until a push toward solar, wind, and hydro left non-renewable sources in the dust.
Of course, in unfortunate contrast to Costa Rica, Denmark, and many others, the United States continues not only heavy reliance on fossil fuels, but thwarting attempts by individuals and renewable energy startups to move toward greener energy.
In an act of astonishing hubris and greed, Wyoming’s state legislature decided earlier this month it, in fact, owns the wind — a decision made so the state could tax startup renewable companies out of existence to allay the ‘threat’ to fossil fuel giants.
Nevada arbitrarily hiked its tax on solar power by 40 percent in January — effectively quashing every effort by individuals and small companies to break from dependence on fossil fuels. Worse, as The Free Thought Project reported, the sudden tax increase was applied retroactively — killing investments in the burgeoning industry.
“It will destroy the rooftop solar industry in one of the states with the most sunshine,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive at the time. “There is so much wrong with the decision. The one beneficiary of this decision would be NV Energy, whose monopoly will have been protected.”
Wyoming and Nevada aren’t the only states to suppress the move toward renewables, but they’re glaring examples of the U.S. government’s hypocritical attitude about green energy.
President Obama constantly feigns concern about the warming climate, but the U.S. has not made major moves in support of clean energy — instead opting to continue subsidies for fossil fuel corporations, while proposing only negligible steps to breaking dependence on coal and natural gas.
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