Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
Costa Rica is reputed to have a better wind regime than California and some of the highest average wind speeds in the world. In addition to using the country's geothermal and biomass resources, the Government is demonstrating its commitment to the utilisation of its wind resource in an effort to develop sustainably and reduce GHG emissions.
In 1993 the Costa Rican Government issued a tender for a 20 MW (30 x 660 kW) grid-connected wind plant near the town of La Tejona. The project was designed for the installation of between 40 and 100 turbines on two parallel ridges to the northwest of Lake Arenal. However, many problems were encountered, which delayed the project until the late 1990s. It was not until September 2001 that the turbines were shipped and installation could begin.
A further project, also near Lake Arenal, financed by private and public loans, various banks and the Danish International Development Agency, has been developed. The 24 MW Tierras Morenas wind farm sells approximately 70 000 MWh/yr electricity to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the state-owned national electric utility, under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
At the present time Costa Rica is the only country in the Central American isthmus to have wind parks connected to the electrical grid. By end-2002, installed wind energy capacity totalled 62 MW and by end-2005 it had increased to 71 MW.
In September 2006 Econergy International announced that ICE had awarded the company and its partners a 20-year contract to build, own, operate and transfer a 49.5 MW project. Work on the 55 turbine Proyecto Eólico Guanacaste wind park was expected to start in early 2007.