Costa Rica is facing the new legislation problems that suppose the promotion of geothermal plants into the National Park System.
Recent news from Costa Rica report that despite an agreement on the need to exploit the country’s geothermal resources, there are different points of views on how. While some would welcome private participation, others consider the need for development to stay in the hands of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). However no one denies the desirability of allowing development in the national park system.
Geothermal resources are mostly found in volcanic systems near areas protected for conservation. So while development would be effecting the landscape, geothermal energy could replace power generation through hydrocarbons and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make the country independent from the ups and downs of oil prices.
For development it would be necessary to remove a small pieces of land (e.g. between 5 to 10 square kilometers of the 140 square kilometers protected in the Rincon de la Vieja volcano). The land taken for development could be replaced by close by farm land purchased close by and added to the national park. Furthermore development would provide fees that in turn could fund the National Park system and improve the maintenance of the areas under the jurisdiction of the national parks.
Deputy Claudio Monge, president of the Environmental Commission, the chief executive of ICE, Teofilo de la Torre, Jorge Cabrera a specialist in environmental law and Mark Fernandez from the Chamber of Industries, don´t have any doubts about the urgency to exploit geothermal energy. The deputy also noted the willingness of their colleagues in Congress making a reference to the current obstacle “our tangled rules and the difficulties in the Costa Rican legislative process”.
The key is in the congress said the CEO exhibiting doubts about the best way to proceed. “What is the best way to proceed? explore first and then separate the portion of suitable land or displace an area to allow the exploration?” The lawyer offered solutions and to avoid disappointments, suggested adding geothermal to the list of activities tolerated in protected areas like research, ecotourism and installation of communication towers.
While we resolve the doubts about geothermal and await the action of the Legislature, Costa Rica is breaking marks in the burning of fuels to generate electricity and the oil bill grows.
Source: La Nación
Written by A.Ormad