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Tico astronaut Franklin Chang offers President Solís a plan to optimize energy use

May 20, 2014

Former NASA astronaut and Tico scientist Franklin Chang Diaz on Tuesday met with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís to deliver a series of proposals aimed at improving energy generation and creating more efficient transit in the country.

The plan, developed jointly with experts from Earth University, also urges a reduction in the use of fossil fuels in Costa Rica.

Solís, Chang and Earth University Rector José Zaglul met at 7 a.m. at Casa Presidencial, in southeastern San José. The three are part of a National Energy Platform, a group that promotes more efficient energy strategies and alternative fuel options.

Chang said the proposal “is a short report of work developed by members of the platform, which includes specific actions to reduce the price of energy and to reduce the country’s ecological footprint.”

Among the measures that could be implemented in the short term, Solís cited a metropolitan electric train, a national roadway plan and promotion of several pending bills being discussed in the Legislative Assembly that would allow exploration of geothermal energy without damaging the environment.

“There are very concrete ideas that are intended to move forward and fast,” Solís said.

The Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE) is exploring several geothermal energy projects, but the country’s laws currently prevent the agency from exploiting new sites located within national parks.

Zaglul, who is the platform’s coordinator, said there is significant interest in improving the national roadway network to optimize fuel consumption.

The Earth rector explained that the platform “is a multisectoral group looking for consensus on actions that can be taken immediately.”

The National Energy Platform includes representatives from ICE, private sector organizations, labor unions and several Costa Rican scientists.

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