Costa Rica powered 100% by renewables for first 75 days of 2015 http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/costa-rica-powered-100-by-renewables-for-first-75-days-of-2015 By Sophie Vorrath on 19 March 2015 The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved the milestone of generating 100 per cent of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal for 75 days in a row, the the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said.
Boosted by good rains at four of he country’s main hydroelectric plants, ICE said that, according to National Electric System figures, it had not been necessary to use hydrocarbons to supply the country’s grid at all in 2015, for the months of January, February and so far in March.
“With these (rain) conditions and the reserves accumulated to date, the ICE estimates that the downward trend in rates for all consumers will continue in the second quarter,” the power agency was quoted as saying in the Latin American Herald Tribune.
Of course, Costa Rica already has an outstanding record on efficient, clean and cheap electricity generation, ranking No. 2 in Latin America for providing a household coverage rate of 99.4 per cent at some of the region’s lowest prices.
According to the transnational institute, 250kWh would be enough satisfy the monthly needs of low- and middle-income Costa Rican households, at a cost of around 7 per cent of the minimum salary.
And their record on renewables is very good too. The country generated as much as 80 per cent of its electricity from hydro power as recently as last year – although recent droughts had led to the back-up use of diesel fuel.
And in 2010 it was reported that about 13 per cent of the Latin American nation’s energy came from geothermal.
Now, Costa Rica is in the process of adding several big new geothermal plants, after a $US958 million proposal was approved by the government in mid-2014.
The project, which is being co-funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the European Investment Bank, is expected to be located in Guanacaste near Rincón de la Vieja.
The first plants are expected to generate about 55MW and cost around $333 million to build. Two other 50MW plants will be built as well, about 40km from the Pailas II plants.
Once operational, it is expected the plants could generate electricity at about five cents per kilowatt-hour.
Rising UV radiation prompts skin cancer fears in Chile http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Rising-UV-radiation-prompts-skin-cancer-fears-in-Chile-20141124 Santiago – Cancer experts in Chile are warning people to limit their exposure to the sun as dangerously high levels of ultraviolet radiation are expected over the next few months.
A recently released report indicates the a hole in the ozone layer, which is normally situated over Antarctica, is moving towards the South American country.
Chilean’s might have to stay indoors this summer as experts warn that the country will be blasted by extremely high levels of ultraviolet radiation.
According to a study from Chile’s national cancer corporation, or Conac, the massive hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is moving closer towards the South American country.
Conac’s Doctor Ernesto Gramsch says the rise in radiation levels is alarming. In October, UV levels were 175 higher than they were in October of last year, which was 10 or 15% higher than the year before that. So this year it’s been a little higher, almost 30% higher than in previous years.”
Gramsch says that rise is also due to shifts in climatic wind patterns which have thinned out ozone gases over Chile in recent years. And with less protection from harmful UV rays, the number of skin cancer cases are on the rise.
Dr Cecilia Orlandi says she has seen the number of patients double since 2000.
“The number of skin cancer cases has been increasing, which yes, we can detect at a fairly early stage. But cancers from epithelioma basal cells and squamous cells have been increasing as well, and those are directly related to exposure to ultraviolet rays A and B”, Said Orlandi.
Outside Chileans are bracing for a harsh summer.
But according to a recent United Nations report, a ray of hope is slowly emerging. Moves to tackle climate change have resulted in the ozone layer finally starting to recover, with estimates that it will be back at 1980 levels by 2050.
Biopower, also known as biomass power or bioenergy, is the use of any organic material to generate electricity. The U.S. has long been the global leader, but the report suggests outdated infrastructure and a bloated existing capacity that has saturated the market will lead to Americans being overtaken in four years’ time……http://www.ibtimes.com/brazil-overtake-us-leading-market-renewable-energy-metric-1724500
Dear Evo Morales,
First of all we would like to emphasize that those who sign this letter consider themselves to be friends of the Bolivian people. We applaud what your government has done over the years for the welfare of the people of Bolivia, for the recovery of control over your natural resources as well as for social justice and the redistribution of wealth. We also support the strong stance you and your government have taken on the protection of the environment, with the institution of the Day of Mother Earth and the acts against the exploitation of food resources for purposes other than the nourishment of the people. Moreover, we have been fighting for years, in our countries and internationally, against military and civilian nuclear energy.
In this light, as friends, we have been surprised by the announcement of your government’s plans to start the process of building a nuclear plant in Bolivia.
We believe this to be a move in the wrong direction and we wish to explain why in the following few points. Continue reading
Extreme levels of UV radiation in Arequipa, Peru This Week, By Agnes Rivera, 8 Nov 14 The coming months will bring the levels up to 16, the highest in the world……..According to the Regional Health Management of Environmental Health residents in Arequipa should take extra precaution this season towards UV protection.
Executive director of said agency, Zacarías Madariaga, warns that during the months of November and December, Peru’s southern region could reach radiation levels of 16, which would be the highest in the world.
“Usually the high rates are 12 and 14. However, at this time of year there are extreme levels,” says Madariaga, as quote
http://gizmodo.com/the-abandoned-communist-reactor-that-could-have-killed-1644415889The Abandoned Communist Nuclear Reactor That Could Have Killed Us All (Great pictures) Gizmodo 10 Oct 14
Ashley Feinberg Just 90 miles off the tip of Florida lies a half-baked, abandoned relic of the Cold War-era arms race—what was once going to be a joint Cuban-Soviet nuclear reactor. And thank god it never panned out. Because not only do we now have these incredible shots from photographer Darmon Richter, but every last aspect of this thing would have been a total and utter disaster………the whole project spent nearly a decade in limbo, until finally, in 2000, Fidel Castro told Vladamir Putin that he was done with the two countries’ former joint-dream. Now, the power plant at Juragua was officially little more than a testament to what could have been—which is a very good thing. Because as it turns out, “what could have been” basically entailed wildly dangerous conditions and potentially a whole mess of destruction.
Chilean geography makes nation the top market for renewable energy, Chicago Tribune
By Matt Craze, Bloomberg News,Bloomberg SANTIAGO, Chile — With the sunniest desert on Earth, a windswept coast and limited fossil fuel supplies, northern Chile has become the world’s top market for renewable energy.
The government of President Michelle Bachelet has approved 76 solar and wind projects since taking power March 11. Renewable energy developers are pursuing contracts to deliver electricity to mines run by by companies including Anglo American and BHP Billiton, which consume a third of the country’s power.
“Chile is the market with the highest level of activity in the world,” Ben Warren, head of Ernst & Young’s renewables team, said in a telephone interview from London………
“Despite being a small market we attracted all of the players because we have significant growth rates,” Finat said. “We have clear economic rules and political stability. And there is a gigantic amount of untapped renewable energy resources.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-chile07-20141007-story.html
Chile An Emerging Solar PV Powerhouse http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4257 Chile installed 150MW of solar panels in the first quarter of this year and has a further 380MW of PV under construction.
According to GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook, Q2 2014; the 150MW tally is triple the amount that any Latin American country has ever installed in a single quarter.
A major contributor to the impressive first quarter total was SunEdison’s 50.7 MW San Andres solar farm; the largest merchant solar plant in Latin America to date. SunEdison recently announced it has sold a majority stake in the facility to a group of investors.
GTM Research forecasts Chile will install 244 megawatts of PV this year; some of which support the nation’s energy-hungry mining industry. Last year, Chile’s renewable energy capacity jumped 40 percent to just over one gigawatt. The nation’s renewable energy target demands utilities source 20 percent of their power from renewable sources – excluding hydro – by 2025.
GTM Research considers Latin America to be the “global frontier” for unsubsidized solar markets.
“With high insolation levels and growing demand, it is positioned to be one of the most attractive regions on the planet for solar development.”
Chile has a population of more than 17 million. According to Wikipedia, its electricity generation sector relies mainly on hydro-electric power (33% of installed capacity as of May, 2012), oil (13%), gas (30%) and coal (20%). Much of its fossil fuel is imported.
The nation’s newly elected president, Michelle Bachelet, this week announced a proposed carbon tax. Under the proposal, thermal power plants with a generation capacity of at least 50 megawatts will pay a tax of $5 per metric tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. The carbon tax would be the first to be implemented in South America.
Falklands a NATO nuclear base: Argentina SMH, April 3, 2014 Buenos Aires: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has claimed that the Falkland Islands serve as a nuclear base for the NATO alliance in the South Atlantic.
Federal police blocked access Friday to hospital where the six were held
Mexico Police Block Hospital Where 6 May Have Radiation Exposure In Wake Of Theft HUFFINGTON POST, By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and E. EDUARDO CASTILLO 12/06/13 06:MEXICO CITY (AP) — Six people being tested for possible radiation exposure in a hospital in central Mexico are suspects in the theft of highly radioactive cobalt-60, a government official said Friday.
The official said the six were arrested Thursday and taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing for radiation exposure.Once they are cleared, they will be turned over to federal authorities in connection with the case of a cargo truck stolen Monday at gunpoint that was carrying the extremely dangerous material.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He did not specify how the six were allegedly involved in the theft.
Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble said Friday that the six suffered from skin irritations and dizziness, but that none are in grave condition and may be released soon. Only one was vomiting, a sign of radiation poisoning……..
The atomic energy agency said the cobalt has an activity of 3,000 curies, or Category 1, meaning “it would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period in the range of a few minutes to an hour.”
But Mexican officials said that the thieves seemed to have targeted the cargo truck with moveable platform and crane, and likely didn’t know about the dangerous cargo. The government official would not give details or location of Thursday’s arrest nor names or ages of the suspects…….
The material was from obsolete radiation therapy equipment at a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana and was being transported to nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City.
Authorities maintained a 500-meter (yard) cordon around the site where the cobalt-60 still remains in the state of Mexico and continued to work Friday to extract it safely, said Juan Eibenschutz, director general of Mexico’s National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards.
“It’s quite an operation and it is in the process of being planned,” he said. “It’s highly radioactive, so you cannot just go over and pick it up. It’s going to take a while to pick it up.”
Federal police blocked access Friday to hospital where the six were held. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/06/mexico-hospital-blocked-radiation_n_4399922.html
Winds of Change: Nicaragua’s renewable energy revolution By Tim Rogers / Nicaragua Dispatch November 3, 2013 Nicaragua remains one of the most attractive countries in Latin America for investment in renewable energies, according to “Climatescope 2013,” an annual report and index measuring the ability of 26 nations to foster low-carbon energy growth.
The report, produced by the Inter-American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ranks Nicaragua third in the region––and first in Central America––for its “high penetration of renewable energies in the country’s energy matrix and the important influx of investment (in renewable energies) in proportion to the small size of its economy.” Nicaragua, which ranked second to Brazil in last year’s inaugural report, ceded the number two spot to Chile in this year’s index, but continued to show its potential to compete with larger economies in the region.
According to the Climatescope 2013, Nicaragua’s installed capacity for renewable energies reached 36% last year, up from around 30% the year before. Nicaragua’s Ministry of Energy and Mines says that percentage has since grown to around 52% in 2013, meaning most of the country’s energy is now provided by renewable sources (compared to only 20% six years ago). Nicaragua last year attracted $292 million investment in additional renewable energy production, as the country seeks to shift its energy matrix to 92% renewable by 2016…….. http://www.nicaraguadispatch.com/news/2013/11/nicaragua-ranks-third-in-region-for-renewable-energy-market/8309
Sep. 19, 2013 North and South America Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2013 report presents an in-depth analysis of the renewable energy policies across the major countries in North and South America namely the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The report provides the current and future renewable energy targets and plans along with the present policy framework, giving a fair idea of overall growth potential of their renewable energy industry.
The report also provides major technology specific policies and incentives provided in each of these countries. The report also provides insights to major policy initiatives for the market development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biopower and biofuels. The report ( http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/268267-north-and-south-america-renewable-energy-policy-handbook-2013.html ) is built using data and information sourced from industry associations, government websites and statutory bodies. The information is also sourced through other secondary research sources such as industry and trade magazines.
Table of Contents for the report North and South America Renewable Energy Policy Handbook 2013 include: Continue reading
Brazil will probably scale down its plans for new nuclear plants due to safety concerns following the 2011 radiation leak in Japan and pick up some of the slack with a “revolution” in wind power, the head of the government’s energy planning agency said.
Concrete Crypt for Communist Dreams: Cuba’s Unfinished Nuclear Power Plant http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2013/09/11/the_unfinished_cuban_nuclear_power_plant_abandoned_when_the_ussr_collapsed.html By Atlas Obscura, Sept. 11, 2013 In 1976, Communist companions Cuba and the Soviet Union signed a deal to build a nuclear power plant in Juraqua. Construction on the first of two nuclear reactors began in 1983 with a target operational date of 1993. But a few years before the reactor’s scheduled completion, the USSR collapsed. The flow of crucial Soviet funds ceased, 300 Russian technicians went home, and Cuba was forced to suspend construction on its badly needed power plant.
Lacking nuclear fuel and without the primary components installed, the plant sat in limbo until December 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Cuba. Putin offered Fidel Castro a belated $800 million to finish the first reactor. Despite Cuba’s reliance on imported oil for power, Castro declined. Project status: officially abandoned.
The unfinished plant, a huge, domed concrete structure, sits on the Caribbean coast, across the bay from the city of Cienfuegos.
Peru to Provide Free Solar Power to its 2 Million Poorest Citizens http://inhabitat.com/peru-solar-power-program-aims-to-give-electricity-to-the-countrys-2-million-poorest-citizens/ by Timon Singh, 07/16/13 The country of Peru is looking to provide free electricity to over 2 million of its poorest citizens by harvesting energy from the sun. Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will provide electricity to poor households through the installation of photovoltaic panels.
The first part of the program aims to provide solar systems to 500,000 extremely poor households in areas that lack even basic access to the power grid. Unsurprisingly, it is a massive opportunity for domestic solar installers, and Merino has said that bidding for the contract will open later this year to fix the rest of the panels.
The project was first started in Contumaza, a province in the northeastern region of Cajamarca, where 1,601 solar panels were installed. The energy minister has said that when the project is finished, the scheme will allow 95% of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016.
Speaking to the Latin America Herald Tribune, Merino said: “This program is aimed at the poorest people, those who lack access to electric lighting and still use oil lamps, spending their own resources to pay for fuels that harm their health.”
If Peru can do this for its people, it makes you wonder why more prosperous countries can’t do the same. Peru to Provide Free Solar Power to its 2 Million Poorest Citizens | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
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