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Monday, May 20, 2024

Costa Rica Revisits Controversial Diquis Hydroelectric Project

President Rodrigo Chaves announced that his government intends to reactivate the Diquis hydroelectric project. The project involved the construction of a reservoir on the Grande de Térraba River and, at the time, raised controversies due to the environmental impact it would entail and the flooding of indigenous territories.

Back in November 2018, Irene Cañas, then executive president of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), announced the indefinite suspension of the project, following the $280 million investment. Last week, Chaves criticized the decisions made during the last government regarding electricity projects.

“Looking back, ICE preached for years, during the government of Carlos Alvarado, that Costa Rica had an excess of generation capacity. They were afraid to move forward with Diquís despite the investment of $280 million that had already been made; that money was thrown into the fire. We are going to revisit this matter,” Chaves said.

Several environmental and indigenous groups spoke out against the reactivation of this plan. “The indigenous peoples will fight to the death for a project like this not to be carried out. The state of the river today is lamentable. This year it practically looked like a ravine, there was no water to be seen, imagine that river with a dam,” said Pablo Sibar, Brörán leader.

He also mentioned that this year the river looked more like a stream, due to the lack of water, and it would be even worse with the construction of a dam.

“The president should be thinking about giving us back our lands and that these lands should once again regenerate into forest and once again have abundant water so that the river does not die, so that the river continues to live. And if the river dries up, what happens?” Sibar mentioned.

Chaves clarified that while his team will look into the Diquis hydroelectric plant, his focus is directed towards diversifying the energy matrix.

“We need to have different options, and should look into solar and wind energy,” he noted.

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