EDIT: From Wikipedia "It is known for its long-standing and stable democracy, and for its highly educated workforce, most of whom speak English. The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%. Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives."
"The Narrow Corridor" has an entire chapter devoted to examining the differences between Costa Rica and its neighbor Guatemala.
Guatemala had a large indigenous population that was forced to work on Encomiendas -- essentially Spanish plantations worked by indigenous slaves. This resulted in large swaths of land to be controlled by a few elite. This imbalance eventually results in a highly extractive and exploitative political and economic system. The same 8 families that were major Spanish colonial landowners still essentially run the country (though apparently their power is finally waning). The Castillo family has been the most powerful for literally half a millennium.
Contrast this with Costa Rica which was far more sparsely populated. This resulted in small landholders working their own plots of land, and, in the short term, relative poverty compared to other Spanish conquered lands. But being overlooked by the Spanish, and having a wide spread of land ownership across the populace resulted in a homegrown movement of rural democracy.
Links for further reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_El_Salvador#The_oli... (El Salvador, but a similar situation)
Mexico for example had a revolution which gave the land to the people and is a country that, over a century later, is still struggling with corruption, ignorance, superstition, etc.
I've been living in Mexico for 12 years and IMO it all comes down to poor education like the grandparent comment by belval suggested.
As an example, take the current Mexican government who was largely put in power by the lower classes. Instead of investing into education and social programs, is putting all its eggs into the oil basket.
BTW I'm not arguing that more expenditure in education results in better education.
For the Mexican case specifically, the revolution did not replace the landowning political elite, but installed a different subset of them. A succession of presidents from the landowning class slow-walked land reform (we're talking single-digit percentages of land redistributed per decade), mostly motivated by the fear of Zapatista rebels rather than commitment to equality.
Cárdenas was probably the first seriously pro-reform president (mid- and late-30s), but the old landowners remained wealthy and preserved a good chunk of their holdings. (For political reasons, he focused on foreign landholders.) This meant that the next landowner-friendly president a few years later created a land-leasing system that de facto returned control of large collective farms to the landowning class.
See also how the (non-revolutionary) emancipation of serfs in the Russian Empire didn't change much, since serfs had to take out loans to compensate their former masters. Social hierarchies and power balances remained, despite a change in form.
The historical pattern is that advocates for the rich will try to undermine assessments to fall more heavily on buildings in poor neighborhoods and replace property tax revenues with sales tax, and that advocates for the poor will try to reform assessments to fall more heavily on land in rich neighborhoods and decrease sales tax.
'Land reform' in the sense of trying to equally divide low value rural land by area without appointing assessors to appraise taxable value of urban property is viewed as a bizarre and impractical European idea.
BTW there are still plenty of ejidos all over Mexico which are not owned by the political elite.
If you're interested in a really deep dive into related Eastern European examples (not Russian) of the limits and successes of land reform, I'd suggest this textbook: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=372
And yup! The reversion of Cárdenas's reforms was not complete; reformers in positions of power do make some difference, even if it's less than you'd guess based on short-term results. Though note that many ejidos owned by the intended local peasant's collectives are de facto controlled by a large landowner or business. (The political elite of the early-/mid-20th century was a subset of the landowning elite, not its entirety.)
Ultimately, Mexico has suffered significantly from the government granting monopoly rights to particular businesses (friends of the government) and by not respecting property rights. Both of these trends have spanned governments and go all the way back to the Spanish colonialists.
There is little incentive in Mexico to innovate and invest, because if you are too successful, you will likely run afoul of some wealthy friend of a politician who will use his power to ruin you. From the point of view of the political elite, this makes sense, because they are all rich and in charge. But this behavior impoverishes society on average.
Concrete examples in the book include the banking industry, which was effectively monopolized by 2 banks with government support in the 19th century. Contrasted with hundreds of banks with fierce competition in the US in the same time period. This resulted in high interest rates in Mexico (and thus little incentive to invest) and low interest rates in the US (which was rapidly industrializing).
A more modern example is comparing Bill Gates vs. Carlos Slim, who were vying for the title of the world's richest person when the book was written. Bill Gates made his fortune by founding an incredibly successful company. When it was engaging in monopolistic behavior, it was successfully prosecuted by the government. Contrast this with Carlos Slim who made his fortune largely by being granted favorable monopolistic deals by the Mexican government.
Ref. the movie Viva Zapata! Which has Marlon Brando playing a Mexican revolutionary hero facing this kind of disillusioning outcome over & over. (Mostly bringing this up because I went to the trouble to watch it recently and needed a conversation to work it into)
For example, the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment freed the slaves, but included an exception on forced labor for those convicted of a crime. Surprise surprise, former Confederate states make up crimes (like loitering) that are only enforced on Black people, and the cheap, no-choice labor force is back at work, even if under a structure that only barely resembles prewar chattel slavery.
Yes, because the fundamental problem is changing the culture, not the "shape".
In Mexico (the example I know first hand) corruption is definitely a cultural problem. It happens at all levels because it is culturally acceptable to bend/ignore the rules for personal gain.
There's even a saying in Mexico which is "el que no transa no avanza". It translates to something like "the one who doesn't cheat, doesn't move forward in life".
The same director's documentary Bus 174 (2002) is even much more intense and unforgettable.
He also created the amazing series The Mechanism (2018-), based on the Operation Car Wash investigations, during the last 10 years, into corruption in Brazil.
Drugs across the american border is very lucrative giving power and money to alot of bad people in Mexico. Watch Narcos Mexico to get a wiff of the proximity to the US creating cartels.
Could this be partially attributed the geography, natural resources available in the region. AKA both the Spanish Empire and contemporary society saw the same poverty inducing industries available in those regions?
At this point the Spanish focused on the people of the Inca Empire. [..] Citizens were divided into encomiendas, with one going to each of the conquistadors [..]. The encomienda was the main institution used for the control and organization of labor in the early colonial period, but it soon faced a vigorous contender.
In 1545 a local named Diego Gualpa was searching for an indigenous shrine high in the Andes in what is today Bolivia. He was thrown to the ground by a sudden gust of wind and in front of him appeared a cache of silver ore. This was part of a vast mountain of silver, which the Spanish baptized El Cerro Rico, “The Rich Hill.” Around it grew the city of Potosí, which at its height in 1650 had a population of 160,000 people, larger than Lisbon or Venice in this period.
To exploit the silver, the Spanish needed miners [..]. They sent a new viceroy [..] Francisco de Toledo, whose main mission was to solve the labor problem. [..] To find the labor he needed, de Toledo first moved almost the entire indigenous population, concentrating them in new towns called reducciones — literally “reductions” — which would facilitate the exploitation of labor by the Spanish Crown. Then he revived and adapted an Inca labor institution known as the mita, which, in the Incas’ language, Quechua, means “a turn.”
Under their mita system, the Incas had used forced labor to run plantations designed to provide food for temples, the aristocracy, and the army. [..] In de Toledo’s hands the mita, especially the Potosí mita, was to become the largest and most onerous scheme of labor exploitation in the Spanish colonial period. De Toledo defined a huge catchment area, running from the middle of modern-day Peru and encompassing most of modern Bolivia. [..] The Potosí mita endured throughout the entire colonial period and was abolished only in 1825. Map 1 shows the catchment area of the mita superimposed on the extent of the Inca empire at the time of the Spanish conquest. It illustrates the extent to which the mita overlapped with the heartland of the empire, encompassing the capital Cusco.
Remarkably, you still see the legacy of the mita in Peru today. Take the differences between the provinces of Calca and nearby Acomayo. There appears to be few differences among these provinces. Both are high in the mountains, and each is inhabited by the Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas. Yet Acomayo is much poorer, with its inhabitants consuming about one-third less than those in Calca. [..] In Calca and Acomayo, people grow the same crops, but in Calca they sell them on the market for money. In Acomayo they grow food for their own subsistence. These inequalities, apparent to the eye and to the people who live there, can be understood in terms of the institutional differences between these departments — institutional differences with historical roots going back to de Toledo and his plan for effective exploitation of indigenous labor. The major historical difference between Acomayo and Calca is that Acomayo was in the catchment area of the Potosí mita. Calca was not.
[..] Throughout the Spanish colonial world in the Americas, similar institutions and social structures emerged. After an initial phase of looting, and gold and silver lust, the Spanish created a web of institutions designed to exploit the indigenous peoples. [..] Though these institutions generated a lot of wealth for the Spanish Crown and made the conquistadors and their descendants very rich, they also turned Latin America into the most unequal continent in the world and sapped much of its economic potential.
I'm not saying setting up an alliance with the country that has the biggest army in the world and then doing without an army is a bad thing...
What I'm saying though is that it'd probably be very different for a country without any alliance with the US to decide to have no army.
Edit: fixed acronym. Thanks
Everyone would prefer to not have an army, because most of the time you don't need them but they're still expensive to maintain and when you do need them they're even more expensive. But if nobody has an army then the bad actors can form an army and take over everybody else. So everybody needs to have an army unless and until you can get global coordination working to the point where everyone de-militarizes and the moment anyone starts militarizing everyone else does the same and joins together to absolutely crush that violator. You just gotta hope they weren't able to massively militarize in secret.
The seems unlikely to ever happen, so until then you have a couple countries that get to live in the sweet spot of not having their own army but still being covered by someone else's.
The closest we've ever come to seeing this happen in real time was probably with German rearmament in the 20s and 30s, and they were telegraphing for decades what they were doing.
It does however raise the other problem - if people are willing to stand by and ignore obviously bad actors skirting closer and closer to the line, you'll have at some point a fairly big problem, and it depends on how long you waited.
That is the bigger problem of global demilitarization - the fact that non-action in the face of a violation usually plays better to a domestic audience than actually doing something. (This is a pattern that has and will play out repeatedly. That's the actual question that needs answering)
And I think it's worth calling out that Britain and France deliberately slowed down as a result of appeasement policies, not because they missed that Germany was rearming. That's what I meant in the GP post when I said "people willing to stand by and ignore obviously bad actors"
I am certain the US for instance could easily make nukes with no other country knowing about it, and that's with all the people in the US who would scream that from the rooftops if they knew.
Or you could get even more creative: make a virus in a lab, develop a vaccine / cure, vaccinate your population, release the virus. We don't even know if COVID-19 came from a Wuhan lab and even if it did it seems incredibly unlikely it was developed as a weapon. Imagine the secrecy that would be involved by a country doing so deliberately.
Between nukes / bioweapons / chemical weapons / drones / etc, a country could definitely achieve a huge edge before any other country knew what was happening. It's not 1920 anymore.
And it's worth pointing out that bioweapons are not a problem that can be fixed with a standing army. (Again, not touching the fact that a BSL4 lab specializing in weaponized agents is not something that just escapes notice). And I'm terribly sorry, but the idea that you can vaccinate an entire population without anybody noticing is just flat out ridiculous.
I didn't say anyone can, I said the US can. Even if the US "demilitarized", we could definitely still easily make nukes.
> And it's worth pointing out that bioweapons are not a problem that can be fixed with a standing army.
I never said standing army, I was clear about using demilitarized/militarized. You could use cyber security as another example – a country with a standing army is of course not going to help against a cyber offensive. However a country with cyber defenses...
> but the idea that you can vaccinate an entire population without anybody noticing is just flat out ridiculous.
The US vaccinates its population against the flu every year.
By the time you could cobble together an army any modern military would have already conquered you, especially if you have super strict civilian firearm laws like Costa Rica that make putting together defensive militias much, much harder.
Not refuting the larger point, but this part sounds questionable. For a country, rifles are easy to provision: just buy enough and keep them in well-guarded armories in strategic locations. Trained soldiers are much harder to come by.
South Korea has relatively strict gun laws and very few people own one at home. But almost every male goes through two years of military service. In case of a foreign invasion, it won't take 24 hours to summon millions of civilians, just throw each one a rifle, and there's your army.
But let's say Costa Rica had a standing army - are they going to stop that modern military from conquering them? Probably not, so why waste money on a half assed defense?
One might go so far as to say that not having a strong standing army for an extended period of time actually proved militarily advantageous for the Germans in 1940 when their new army outmaneuvered an obsolete one.
The moment someone has a standing army, we are, by definition, no longer in a situation where nobody has a standing army.
If someone can magically instantaneously create an army, then Costa Rica should just do that the moment they're threatened.
If the world's culture is strongly set against having armies, and one country effectively threatens them by breaking that taboo, then I would at least expect the world to instantly cease all trade and transport links with the arming country.
That may not be enough on its own to force the taboo-breaking country to disarm, but I don't see any contradiction in a world culture which is against having armies while also ruthlessly dedicated to temporarily re-arming and exterminating the first country that breaks the taboo.
There are hard coordination and rule of law / presumption of innocence questions to solve there, but I don't think we can necessarily assume that this world culture will stand idly by while their enemy works to undo the very thing that defines the culture.
It's obviously easier for a country with lots of hydropower to go 100% renewable, as you have a potentially flexible source that not everyone has.
2.36GW of total hydro generating capacity, 595MW of wind, and 1.64GW of geothermal, as well as interconnectors with Panama and Nicaragua to export excess renewables generation (or import when in nation generation isn't meeting consumption).
With CR's favorable geography for hydro, it'd make a lot of sense for central america to more tightly integrate their electrical grid, similar to how Tasmania's hydro capacity in Australia is used as a "big battery" for the rest of the NEM (eastern AUS electrical grid). In the above link I provide, the interconnectors are shown with real time usage data below generator capacity for each country/grid.
When people say "it's fiction" I think this is a lot of what they mean. If a location is net 100% renewable, say, someone who is 100% solar, so they generate lots of excess in the daytime, but, consume lots on cloudy days and at night and we assume that imported power is very dirty, they might be a net 100% renewable but ultimately they are consuming polluting power. I suspect, with tons of Hydro/Geothermal (which are very on-demand/stable sources) the gross amount of power that costa rica imports is actually quite low and they are actually doing very well (especially compared to others who are "net 100% renewable"), but, I would love to see that figure (gross import %) represented when people talk about being net 100% renewable. Net 100% renewable with 1% gross imports is far more impressive and sustainable than net 100% renewable with 25% gross imports.
Costa Rica does not run 100% on renewables. It's literally and simply a media half-baked feel good fiction.
They still have gas cars, diesel busses, diesel generators, &c.
They still emit tons and tons of carbon. They currently emit 1.64 metric tons per person, more than twice what their neighbors in Nicaragua do.
They're carbon neutral in the greasy, lawyer, "well technically we meant this" way that you should never, ever take seriously.
A Costa Rican has about 1/7 the emissions of an American.
I know it's lovely to pretend, but let's come back to the real world here. These things are easy to look up
> I would love to see that figure (gross import %)
Then look it up
Hydro resources are an important component of future grids, as long duration battery storage is pricey (although short duration storage such as Tesla's install at the Hornsdale Power Reserve is critical for ancillary services like frequency response and synthetic inertia, to keep frequency and voltage within tolerances when a thermal generator trips or renewables drop offline).
My understanding is it barely provides enough electricity for the state, and the interconnect is used to consume power from Victoria 99% of the time
Hover over exports on the right hand side. There are imports from VIC occasionally, but Tas Hydro's plan is to build pumped hydro infra , as well as an additional interconnector to South Australia  which has robust renewables resources.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens.
Anyone who would actually listen looked it up when I said it, and learned something.
The redditors demanded a field guide, and got nothing.
"A small African country's cabinet is meeting to come up with solutions for the bleak economic situation. One minister says: 'I know! Let's declare war on the United States! After they invade us they will have to support us.' Everyone murmurs in agreement at the clever plan. However one last minister is not convinced and says: 'But... what if we win?'"
Yes. Anytime you see an article that says "X country runs on 100% renewable" ... it's hydro-electric power every time. So if your country is blessed with a type of geography that makes hydro electric power viable, you're golden!
Solar and Wind cannot power a modern economy without fossil fuel back-up.
About your last point: <<Solar and Wind cannot power a modern economy without fossil fuel back-up.>>
I respectfully disagree. I think solar+wind+batteries+nuclear can do the trick. Not everywhere, but many places.
I'm surprised no one talks more about how countries near the equator (DRCongo, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.) will transition to renewables. Wind is much weaker near the equator, and building huge solar farms will mean cutting down precious rainforest. It's a real conundrum!
We use enourmous amounts of energy and we invest enourmous amounts of money in energy production. At the same time we have neglible storage and and neglible investment in storage.
194MWh - capacity of Hornsdale Power Reserve in Australia
161 million A$ - it's cost (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornsdale_Power_Reserve)
4 700 000 MWh - Australia's daily total consumption of energy of all fuel types (https://www.energy.gov.au/data/energy-consumption)
4700000 / 194 = 24226 - number of same power reserves to store australias power for one day.
24226 * 161 millions = 3.9 trillions of A$ - money needed to build a days capacity in Australia at current price.
(for comparison, Australia GDP is near 2 trillion A$, US GDP is 27 trilion A$)
Conceivable, but a massive undertaking at a scale having inevitable significant problems ($66T price tag for starters).
The army was removed before the cold war started, and CR was neutral in the game that USA-USSR played in all Latin America, of placing and destroying governments (Iran-Contra, CIA drugs, Noriega, etc). Also the savings are transferred to education and infrastructure.
The lands in CR aren't as fertile as the rest of Central America, but it has plenty of water from the mountain ranges. It can sell hydro-power to its neighbors. Also the geography detour hurricanes which means more savings from reconstruction.
Intel factory was established with the help of national electronic engineers who studied their careers in Germany.
* no army
* generate most government revenue from sales taxes rather than income taxes
* firm commitment to prioritize economic growth over social spending (Costa Rica has among the highest rates of inequality in the OECD)
* much higher levels of education spending (7+% of GDP) (but PISA scores in the bottom half of Latin America and they are falling)
That said, it has problems common to Latin America:
* Low test scores and poor educational outcomes
* Declining fertility leading to pension shortfalls
* Black/gray markets where a large part of the labor force is employed informally and thus does not make pension contributions or pay income taxes
In terms of taxation, there is a 13% sales tax on everything except food and medicine.
They do have an income tax, but it's a weird hybrid between a flat tax and a wealth-surcharge, in that the majority of the population pays no income tax at all.
Median income in Costa Rica is about 6K and average income is 9K. But your first $10K is tax exempt, those earning 10-18K pay 10%, and the highest bracket is 15%.
That is a very different structure than you find in western nations which have upper tax brackets in the range of 40% or even 80%.
There is a separate income tax for self-employed workers which goes up to 25%, but again very few self-employed businesses will earn.
Costa Rica also has a progressive property tax, starting at .25% and going to .55% with the highest bracket applying to 3 million dollars or more. It has 7 property brackets. Thus there are more than twice as many property tax brackets as there are income tax brackets! Yet because those brackets, like the income brackets, only hit the very high end, overall Costa Rica collects the among the least revenue from income and property taxes compared to the rest of the OECD. It is almost entirely dependent on sales taxes, excise taxes, and social security contributions to fund its budget.
It also has a number of free trade zones in which businesses don't pay any taxes at all (neither income, nor import/export) if they meet certain conditions.
Edit: why the downvotes? Just because I mentioned they use way less power than the US?
> Also, Costa Rica can get a lot of rain. With consistent rainfall, their hydroelectric plants can produce a plethora of energy.
A quick search lead me to 2/3 hydro.
Of course, there are other reasons, but essentially, hydro is almost a perfect way of generating electricity. It is cheap, renewable, and comes with built-in storage. Whether or not it is environmentally friendly is debatable but at least, it produces no emission or waste.
The problem is that there is a limited capacity, once you have dammed all the interesting rivers, you can't get any more. Costa Rica just happens to have enough to cover most of their needs.
But if they want more, they will have to find another strategy, and that's what they are doing. I guess having that much hydro helps than absorb the peaks of solar and wind. They also have geothermal energy they can exploit. They can also bank on their reputation as a "green" country. So, IMHO, smart decisions on their side, playing on their advantages.
Military in South/Middle America= failure.
Tensions between government and the opposition, supported by the CIA, caused the short-lived Costa Rican Civil War of 1948 that ended Calderón's government and led to the short de facto rule of 18 months by José Figueres Ferrer.
>"At the time, I was conspiring against the Latin American dictatorships and wanted help from the United States", he recalled. "I was a good friend of Allen Dulles."
>"Anyway", Mr. Figueres went on, "the C.I.A.'s Cultural Department helped me finance a magazine and some youth conferences here. But I never participated in espionage. I did beg them not to carry out the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which was madness, but they ignored me."
>Figueres backed the leftist Sandinista revolution in neighboring Nicaragua that overthrew dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. He railed against U.S. policy when the United States supported Nicaragua's Contra guerrillas.
It also reads as though his 1958 testimony before Congress  shamed the CIA into facilitating the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, a bloody right-wing dictator who Figueres all but named:
>"If you’re going to speak of human dignity in Russia, why is it so hard to speak of human dignity in the Dominican Republic? Where is intervention and where is non-intervention? Is it that a simple threat, a potential one, to your liberties, is, essentially, more serious than the kidnapping of our liberties?"
>With Figueres as sponsor, Bosch and Ornes agreed to form a coalition government in anticipation of the overthrow of dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Such a fascinating figure. Amazed I never knew his name before now.
With respect to the coup mentioned upthread, it's notable that Ferrer instituted largely the same reforms proposed by Calderón and previously instituted in USA by FDR. That took courage.
Just a random result from searching for "bolivia coup": https://theintercept.com/2020/07/23/the-u-s-supported-coup-i...
They have the second largest European descendant population in South America after Uruguay. The European culture of support for democracy can be attributed here (not claiming any genetic predisposition).
Pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, and ecotourism have become the prime industries in Costa Rica's economy. High levels of education among its residents make the country an attractive investing location. 
Note that Hornsdale is also tiny compared to batteries currently being developed in Australia. The new battery in the Hunter will be 1200MW - which is enough to nullify the need for all gas-generated peaking capacity in that state
The Level3 building in San Diego had a two story iron flywheel that got loose and cut its way through the highway.
They are by far the most common kind of energy storage on Earth. Even in your car, which has both.
Teraloop, AFS and others.
Costs for most things are low, except for cars. Cars are insanely expensive due to the ~50% import tax. Electricity is also fairly expensive per KWH.
The people are very nice and generally welcoming to foreigners.
You never run out of things to do, either. There’s always another adventure to explore.
Fiber internet is accessible in most areas I’ve been to. Pretty reliable to boot. I’ve never had an issue Zooming etc.
It really is extremely beautiful.
Overall, we have very few complaints about the country.
Thanks for helping make the pieces fit.
despite that you're okay with it, most heavy users of power aren't
the reason they're omitting this from the reporting is that the reporting just isn't true
As a counter point, nearly all brownouts occur after 6 PM. So maybe it affects heavy industry less?
Costa Rica is blessed with plenty of the second type and uses it. Because we lump it all into "renewables," it sounds like it should be easy for everyone to follow their example, and that's not the case. No country has run on a high percentage of wind/solar/battery for a long period of time.
The wording you are looking for is "dispatchable" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispatchable_generation).
Only because it's early. The first grid-scale battery only went online 3 years ago.
In that example (South Australia) you only have to look at this chart to see what it done to grid renewable demand and where the trend is heading.
There are multiple GW more of additional battery coming online over the next few years
They aren't. The 97% renewable claim is misleading. Scotland can generate huge amount of wind/solar energy at certain times of day that they cannot use, and therefore they have to rely on fossil fuels for evenings and nights and any time sun isn't shining and wind isn't blowing.
Their actual renewable *consumption* is on the order of 30%.
FWIW I currently live in Norway which is ~100% renewable but that's mainly hydro and a very different situation with the amount of potential energy that hydro gives the 5M population.
51.7% of electricity generated in Scotland was generated by renewable technologies, compared to just 29.3% for the UK as a whole (or 25.6% for the rest of the UK, excluding Scotland). 
The 97% figure quoted earlier is a gross figure  that is worked out on the basis of total renewable generation compared to total consumption. The problem is that the two don't always line up and we don't have large scale gird storage to handle it so it doesn't get used. Instead more polluting electricity is imported from England.
42% of electricity consumption derives from wind power. The rest of carbon-free energy derives from Nuclear and Hydro. And then you have natural gas as back-up.
Wind accounts for 42%. Solar does nothing.
The 97% is from charts like this:
And they define 'Gross electricity consumption' as referring to total electricity generation minus net exports.
Here's my home province of Ontario: https://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html
At the time of this posting, Hydro and Nuclear account for 85% of total energy consumption. 10% from Wind, so 95% of our energy is carbon-free. Wind for us is a vanity play since we can just buy more hydro power from Quebec.
I believe that the issue is that the Earth's crust isn't uniformly thick, and that there are places where one could drill for miles without reaching magma/suitable heat sources, and other places (Costa Rica and Iceland come to mind) where the suitable heat sources are essentially on the surface.
Or, looking at it another way - oil drilling happens all over the globe and "hitting magma" isn't really a risk they're concerned about because it's so deep, that even the industry concerned with drilling too greedily and too deep doesn't intersect with it.
The tech is still at pilot stage, but with no fundamental problems to solve. The important question is whether it will be able to compete commercially with solar and wind, which costs are still in free-fall.
Building the first grid-scale battery bank, and having it succeed in smoothing out the delivery curve for an intermittent-heavy grid: that's a huge victory! It's a triumph really.
Insisting on the accountability and follow-through is important, sure. But that battery solves the whole problem we have right now, and will serve as a test case for solving the problem which it itself created for a decade down the road.
Maybe Elon will be broke by then, or living on Mars, or we'll all complete the Singularity and have chips in our head. My hope is that they just fulfill the contract. In any case there's no reason to show that kind of skepticism about something which can't have happened yet.
"Renewables produce 79.5% of Portugal's power in Q1 2021"
> Update 3/17/2021: Our original article stated "Costa Rica Has Run on 100% Renewable Energy for 299 Days." It was pointed out to us that while Costa Rica's electric grid does run primarily on renewable energy, a better title would have been "Costa Rica Has Run on 100% Renewable Electricity". Below the article says that the government had not burned any oil to power the country, but this would technically imply that the government does not own gasoline powered vehicles, which couldn't be true.
Accounting for the origins of energy is tricky business. Want to squeeze out internal combustion engines? Go electric. Where do the batteries come from, and how much non-renewable energy does it cost to produce them? For that matter, how many goods are important with non-neglibile carbon footprints? Because carbon emissions can be exported.
> In other words, a country can be considered carbon neutral while still using fossil fuels by planting trees that offset the carbon, or funding conservation programs which aim to reduce the amount of carbon in the air.
How long do those trees you're planting keep CO2 out of the atmosphere? When they die, a good chunk of that carbon may be released.
There's an interconnection. As the world electrifies, it will become easier for manufacturing to electrify, too.
Anecdotal, rather whimsical example; As soon as i transitioned my factorio to electricity, i found it much easier to just build a solar panel factory and batterys to power everything because i stop getting attacked by the mobs.
Also, one future problem that i find funny. Electric is better. If everyone had access to cheap, renewable energy it only makes sense to transition to that renewable energy. Also with the rise of carbon removal, I see global warming in the future becoming an entirely different problem to solve. It shows in our models that the PPM of carbon in the atmosphere has different effects throughout the world. So once we 'solve' the climate crisis, what entity says where the happy medium is? If it makes one region arid and another eden, who gets to be the deciding factor.
I see a future where carbon sequestration and maybe even addition is a matter of national security.
Pulverizing the charcoal and plowing it into farm fields improves the soil.
In fact you could say it is running on 300% renewable electricity, because it has large Hydro electric dam, exports around 70% of what it generates to Brazil and Argentina and only uses 30% itself.
It's important to keep in mind that wind and solar aren't really a part of this success story.
Of course hydro power can be done correctly, assuming the collaboration of all the stakeholders in the watershed and careful tradeoffs. How many dams were built with such an equitable process?
Given hydro power's well-documented negative impacts, and our arsenal of other truly renewable energy sources, damming new rivers should be a last resort. In the US at least there is a strong trend of dam removal - many ill-considered hydro projects are costly to maintain, an economic loss to society as a whole, and a detriment to the environment. Quite far from any feasible definition of "renewable resource".
Would it be possible for them to utilize hydro significantly without destroying their agricultural industry?
California also generates a really large amount of its power geothermally. We don't hear much about the many mature geothermal projects.
* In 2020, the global weighted-average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from new capacity additions of onshore wind declined by 13%, compared to 2019.
* Over the same period, the LCOE of offshore wind fell by 9% and that of utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) by 7%.
End customers pay market prices, not production costs.
I don’t have any advantage as a customer when electricity is super cheap when it can’t be produced on demand.
There is a major cost that is not accounted for here - the cost of balancing the grid. When wind turbines aren't spinning and solar PV is dead, the grid continues to function. The generators doing that have a cost and that cost is paid for by the customer. The source of the problem is the variable generator i.e. wind or solar but the LCOE figure does not account for this because that charge is not passed on to the renewable generator.
Those costs must be part of the LCOE figure else it is like saying that email costs zero.
vatican city is pretty green too
The country’s whole electricity demand is about 1.82 GW according to electricitymap.org with around 1.5 GW from hydropower and the rest mostly from geothermal power.
1.82 GW is a little more than a single EPR reactor. Just for comparison.
Hydro only cover 15% of France total electricity demand.
It’s indeed all about scale.
* Albania 100
* DR of the Congo 100
* Iceland 100
* Paraguay 100
* Namibia 99.3
* Costa Rica 97.7
All of these are small countries with relatively small total power quantities. Not to say it isn't a praiseworthy achievement to get to, or near, 100% renewable at any quantity. But if you sort the table on Total GWhr of RE, they are far down the list. The runaway winner in quantity of renewable generation is China, with the US, Brazil and Canada fighting for fourth place.
Solutions to fossil fuel use are going to have to involve drastic cuts in our electricity consumption.
Why? Why can't we produce enough from wind and solar and store it in batteries? Maybe use electric cars as batteries for helping to balance the grid.
We'll likely need to utilize different chemistries that are less suited for cars for grid scale solutions.
* Let consumer decide what is more important for them, saved money or not worrying about light switches
* Give capitalists incentive to produce greener electricity
Yes, technically, forcing people to reduce their quality of life is a solution, but it's better to solve the problem without it.
Care you explain where I'm wrong or present any arguments to substantiate your point of view?
Otherwise you comment is equivalent to just "I disagree", which contributes zero to the discussion.
But the scale of emissions reductions required now -- at least 10% per year  -- would mean that the price of carbon would have to immediately be cripplingly high. Obviously, that's bad for anyone who isn't rich. And there's no appetite for high taxes.
The point being, if the government is going to intervene to the degree that the climate crisis requires, then the government might as well directly shut down industries and institute regulations on behavior, instead of indirectly through carbon taxes. As we've been reminded of recently, the wealthy always find loopholes around paying their fair share of taxes.
 https://www.showyourbudgets.org/?country=united_states_of_am... And even this budget is likely conservative, as committed warming is a topic of debate.
Costa Rica is an outlier but perhaps it's only because of success of policy. To make an industry flourish and provide gainful employment(like the IT and Services sector in Costa Rica) you need Labor or Capital. In india for example the manufacturing industry is badly hobbled with lack of capital availability and poor labor laws an exception being the IT Services Sector where laws were written specifically to exempt them of such onerous regulation and capital is available more freely.
Perhaps with the sparse population and good Services Sector and Tourism is a happy path to prosperity for Costa Rica, but for other Central American countries like Guatemala or El Salvador it's harder because the right conditions have never been allowed to take root.
This is part of why small-scale factory-built nukes never found a foothold in the US. There just isn't the scope for wholly-legal corruption to generate the institutional support that big nukes got.
Notable recent exceptions include solar and wind farms, partly I expect because people can tell how much they should cost: N panels x $P per panel, N turbines x $P per turbine. Also, people doing them tend to be idealists; they want the most power out that money can buy, anywhere else if not here.
Nobody ever denied the fact that Hydro is viable. You're getting confused by the misleading title because you think that it's wind and solar that is powering Costa Rica .. it isn't. It's hydro.
Globally, we've added more mega watts of coal power for decades. Doesn't look like it is stopping anytime soon.
It may be meaningless for global greenhouse-gas emission reduction in itself, true. But for "the movement" it is an important milestone.
Hydro energy works, what exactly is novel or meaningful about that?
the title here is 100% clickbait as it frames the situation as "renewables" work when the accurate claim is "hydro + a small population" works.
This is a new low for HN to upvote such garbage, but at least they edited the headline which originally was:
"Costa Rica Has Run on 100% Renewable Energy for 299 Days".