Latin America eyes volcanoes to fire up clean development

Mexico and Costa Rica plan to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels via geothermal and hydropower, part of an effort to meet the goal adopted by governments in the new Paris climate change agreement to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

In 2015, 73 percent of Costa Rica’s energy generation came from hydropower and 13 percent from geothermal. With more than 100 hot-spots, volcanoes, cinder cones and hot springs identified in Costa Rica, geothermal can play a critical role in reaching a sustainable clean energy mix. Harnessing this energy from deep under their own territories could prove a cost-effective way to power the economies of Mexico and Central American states from a domestic source, experts say.

According to the IADB and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean,  geothermal makes up only 5% of installed capacity in Central America and the use of fossil fuels accounts for 40%; however, Latin America relies on hydropower for 55% of its total electricity generation. But geothermal is an attractive source because it is not vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as worsening droughts, or changes in the surface temperature of the Earth. For Mexico and Central American states, it is also a way to generate energy domestically and while achieving the global goals of climate change.

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