By the year 2011, energy from another of Costa Rica’s volcanoes could be powering homes and businesses under a plan by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) to build another geothermal energy plant in the northwestern Guanacaste province.
The project just came one step closer to becoming a reality when the Comptroller General’s Office gave the green light for the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to finance the construction of the plant on the outskirts of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, according to a statement from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE).
The project, called Las Pailas, is expected to be operating by 2011 and have the capacity to produce 35 megawatts of electricity per hour.
CABEI plans to invest $160 million to build the plant in four years and “rent” it to ICE during a 12-year period, during which ICE has the option to purchase it.
Under the contract, ICE is responsible for the plant’s construction, which involves tapping into geothermal sources and installing the necessary tubing to harvest this energy.
Geothermal power, considered a “clean” form of energy, is more environmentally friendly and readily available than conventional, petroleum-derived energy, the statement said.
Two geothermal power plants operate near the Miravalles Volcano in Guanacaste.
Costa Rica produces 80% of its electricity using hydroelectric dams, 5.3% from geothermal sources and 1.3% from wind power.
The rest of the country’s energy comes from conventional fuels.