After six years of construction, Costa Rica’s USD 1.4 billion Reventazon Hydroelectric Project is almost fully online. Three of the facility’s four turbines are functioning, each pumping out 73 MW of electricity, and the fourth will join them in August. At full capacity the facility creates enough energy to supply 525,000 families with power.
The source of the power for this plant is water from the Reventazon River, into which the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has built a 2.7-square-mile dam to control the flow according to demand.
Indigenous groups oppose the project – saying that the dams will impede the flow of Costa Rica’s rivers, which are used for fishing and transportation. The ICE maintains that projects like the Reventazon plant enable Costa Rica to further reduce dependence on fossil fuels; in 2015, according to ICE, 99% of electricity was from renewable sources. Just one percent of Costa Rica’s electricity last year came from thermal sources, burning fossil fuels such as diesel or bunker fuel.