Costa Rica now produces 98% of its national electricity demand through renewable energy. Policymakers and environmentalists can celebrate—for a moment. In truth, the country’s oil requirement is growing rapidly. It seems that Costa Ricans like to validate their new-found wealth by purchasing automobiles. The World Bank estimates that the country has 287 cars per 1,000 people. That figure is twice the number in neighboring Panama. Electric cars are virtually non-existent. The bottom line is that only about a quarter of Costa Rica’s total energy demand is provided through renewable energy. Critics suggest that the government should complement its heavy investment in wind farms and hydroelectric dams with greater focus on a ramshackle public-transportation system. ■
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Image: In Costa Rica, Lake Arenal is major hydroelectric site. Credit: Emiddelkoop at Can Stock Photo Inc.