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Geothermal plants in Costa Rica

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The state-owned Costa Rica Electricity Institute (Spanish only) will over the next ten years build three geothermal plants, each with a capacity of 55 megawatts.

Borinquen I and II and Pailas II are located in the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, in the center of the country.

The government has approved in principle a loan of up to $1 billion, mainly from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The term is 40 years, at a fixed interest rate of 0.6 percent, with a ten-year grace period.

The Institute has since 2011 been operating the Pailas I geothermal plant, with a capacity of 35 megawatts.

Compared to most other options, geothermal energy is clean and reliable.

It runs on steam from volcanoes.

The volcanoes have enough heat for millions of years.

Geothermal energy is competitive on price with hydroelectric and wind power generation – and much cheaper than burning fossil fuels.

El Salvador has 200 megawatts of geothermal capacity, one sixth of total output.

Nicaragua has 150 megawatts, one tenth of the total.