San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Study Calls ICE a Model for Latin America

A new report issued by the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) called Costa Rica one of the countries with the greatest advances in electrical production inthe region.

The advances are attributed to longterm planning and the constant construction of new power plants throughout the country, according to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).

According to the CEPAL report, since the end of the 1980s, the region’s energy providers have faced serious deficiencies. However, Costa Rica has continued to improve in terms of quality of service and total coverage.

At the start of the 1990s, Guatemala and Honduras had electrification rates of 33% and 38%, respectively. Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador’s electrification rates ranged from 47% and 59%. Costa Rica, on the other hand, had a 90% electrification rate.

Today, Costa Rica’s electrical grid reaches 97% of the country’s homes. Costa Rica was highlighted as an example in terms of electrical generation using renewable resources. The National Electrical System (SEN), which includes ICE, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL), regional public services companies and privately run electricity production cooperatives, currently produces 98% of its electricity using renewable resources, according to ICE.

The country was also congratulated for being self-sufficient in its electricity production as well as for being an innovator in the use of new technologies. Costa Rica is the region’s leader in the use of wind power. As of December 2003, the country’s wind power plants produced 62.25 megawatts of electricity, roughly 3.5% of the country’s total electrical output.

Costa Rica, which sells its electricity at cost, is the country with the lowest electricity prices in the region, the report stated.


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