Costa Rica’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2021 received a stamp of approval from the United States government on Wednesday, when U.S. Embassy officials announced the opening of an energy efficiency center in the Central Valley.
The center, to be run out of the University of Costa Rica, “will advance the path toward a cleaner future, with sustainable energy, and will contribute to the goal of going completely carbon neutral by 2021,” said Peter Brennan, chargé d’affaires at the embassy.
As part of a $2 million U.S. Department of Energy program, Costa Rica will be one of the first recipients of a $100,000 grant that will go toward training professionals in a variety of clean technologies as well as accelerating the development and commercialization of energy efficient technologies.
“If Costa Rica can go carbon neutral, it will show the world that it is possible,” said Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based organization that is a partner in the creation of the energy efficiency center. “I think this is one of the reasons Costa Rica was singled out for this highly competitive grant.”
Only a few other programs have been awarded funding under the Low Carbon Communities of the Americas initiative.
“The selection gives important recognition to the leadership of Costa Rica in the region,” Brennan said, in the company of President Oscar Arias, Costa Rican Electricity Institute Executive President Pedro Pablo Quirós, University of Costa Rica Rector Yamileth González and Environment Minister Jorge Rodríguez. “The creation of this center consolidates an extraordinary alliance of leaders in this field, advancing our common agenda of efficient and clean energy in our countries.”