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Energy Ministry in Costa Rica promotes dialogue on low-temperature geothermal

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 1 Mar 2019

The Ministry of Energy of Costa Rica is promoting a dialogue on the introduction of a regulatory framework for the utilisation of low-enthalpy/ low-temperature geothermal resources in the country.

In order to gather elements for the formulation of a regulatory framework on low enthalpy geothermal (low-temperature heat), the Costa Rica Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications (MINAE) through the Secretariat of Planning of the Energy Subsector (SEPSE) conducts a dialogue table on the use of geothermal energy in the country.

The activity seeks to promote an approach with the different actors involved to analyze resource characteristics, potentialities and environmental considerations associated with the exploration and exploitation of the resource as well as aspects related to its sustainability, which should be considered in an eventual regulation on the use of this resource. type of energy in Costa Rica.

The geothermal energy coming from the heat of the earth, is classified according to the temperature in high, medium and low enthalpy. The latter may be available in many areas of the country, but requires a regulatory framework in order to allow its exploitation, given that currently only the Costa Rican Electricity Institute is qualified, according to the Geothermal Law (Law No. 5961 of 1976) .

Costa Rica in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) assumed major commitments aimed at reducing its emission levels in various national sectors. Among the most important actions to decarbonize the economy, those aimed at replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources stand out, where our country has an important potential that has allowed it to have a cleaner and more diverse matrix of electricity generation (see graph on the power generation matrix of 2018).

To achieve a decarbonised economy, the country is developing various actions incorporated in both the National Development and Public Investment Plan, the VII National Energy Plan and the National Decarbonization Plan. In this sense, the National Energy Plan established as part of its goals one in particular focused on analyzing and proposing the regulatory framework for the use of low enthalpy geothermal energy.

Geothermal energy is one of the energy sources that has an interesting potential for exploitation and that until now has been used mostly for electricity generation and recreational activities; so it is of national interest its use as a substitute for fossil fuels that are currently used in industry and services.

For the Vice Minister of Energy, Rolando Castro Córdoba, it is a priority for MINAE to promote these discussion spaces to analyze the potential uses, the enabling legal framework and the possible environmental impacts, in such a way that the steps to be followed can be identified in order to take advantage of this power source.

Representatives of producer associations, business chambers, the environmental sector, professional associations, agricultural and academic institutions, electricity companies, research institutes, international organizations as well as municipal organizations participate in the dialogue table.

An important ally for MINAE in the management of these issues has been the German Government through the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR: Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe) and the International Cooperation GIZ: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, have supported this initiative.

Source: Periódico Mensaje