San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Green energy

Costa Rica to sign loan with Japan for expansion of geothermal energy projects

A delegation led by President Luis Guillermo Solís on Monday will meet with representatives of the Japanese government to sign a $550 million loan to finance the construction of three geothermal power plants in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President Akihiko Tanaka will meet with Solís at the event, along with Finance Minister Helio Fallas, Foreign Minister Manuel González, Environment Minister Edgar Gutiérrez, Planning Minister Olga Sánchez and Costa Rican Electricy Institute (ICE) Executive President Carlos Obregón.

The projects – Pailas II and Borinquen I and II – are expected to generate 55 megawatts each and will be developed by ICE in an area near the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park.

The projects will have generation capacity similar to ICE’s Miravalles I and II plants, which together currently supply 4 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. ICE expects all three new projects to be fully operational by 2020.

The Japanese loan will cover 75 percent of the project’s total costs, estimated at some $900 million. The remainder will be covered by ICE and a $70 million loan from the European Investment Bank, approved last November.

The Japanese loan was unanimously approved by the Legislative Assembly in April, and granted under favorable conditions for ICE, including a 40-year term with a 10-year grace period at 0.6 percent interest.

On Tuesday Tanaka will visit a biodiversity conservation project JICA is developing jointly with the Costa Rican National System of Conservation Areas at Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge in the northern Caribbean. Later that day the Japanese official will travel to El Salvador.

Public sector companies generate 74 percent of the electricity needs in Costa Rica. Private generators provide 17 percent and other distributors supply the remaining 9 percent, ICE reported in April.

More than 90 percent of the energy consumed in the country comes from renewable sources: 71.9 percent is generated at hydroelectric plants; 13.9 percent at geothermal plants; 5.2 percent at wind farms and 0.8 percent is generated from biomass, according to the agency.

Contact L. Arias at

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How can Costa Rica get over 80 % of its energy from hydro and geothermal sources and have electricity prices 3 x the average rate in the USA?

ICE is burning oil to make electricity and has used the price of oil and the decline of the colone against the dollar to justify raising prices.

I doubt seriously the statistics you have reported in the article are true. It makes no sense

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This is so stupied again Costa Rican Goverment has no clue how to fix there problems in Health Care,Roads,Jobs and poverty. More debt for stupied projects. Now the New Prez is arresting for protesting near his home. New Prez has no clue on anything.

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How are they going to pay it back ? I know ! Make the exit penalty for those dumb enough to travel here $270 instead of $27 !

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