Making Green Energy: A Costa Rican Wind Farm

By Aaron Braverman and Marie French

Wind turbines soar above the Costa Rican landscape on Thursday, Jan.3, 2013. The turbines are part of a government-operated wind farm and have been in use since 2003. (Missouri School of Journalism/Aaron Braverman)

Wind turbines soar above the Costa Rican landscape on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. The turbines are part of a government-operated wind farm and have been in use since 2003.
(Missouri School of Journalism/Aaron Braverman)

LIBERIA, Costa Rica — Located on the Costa Rican volcanic backbone stands La Tejona Wind Turbine Farm, the largest in Central America, according to a Costa Rica guidebook.

On intensely windy ridges overlooking Lake Arenal, 30 Vestas wind turbines whir, spinning at a towering 120 feet and supplying electricity to Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the national electric utility, also referred to as ICE. During construction, 90 percent of those employed were from Guanacaste province. The turbines became operational in 2003.

The farm is government owned and received support from other countries. Nearby, other private wind farms also catch the trade winds blowing from the Caribbean toward the Pacific. Some of the wind farms are privately owned and the electricity sold to the  government.

The wind blowing up after hitting the slope creates a roaring sound so ferocious that the only way to hear others is to shout. The force is enough that you can jump up and be pushed backwards by it.

Wind energy made up about 4 percent of Costa Rican power in 2011, ICE officials said in a power-generation expansion report. However, most energy – 73 percent – is produced from hydroelectric plants, another clean energy source. Costa Rica plans to cut its net contribution to global warming to zero by 2021.

By comparison, The United States produces 3.3 percent of all generated electrical energy by wind, while still remaining largely reliant on coal, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Energy report.

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2 thoughts on “Making Green Energy: A Costa Rican Wind Farm

  1. Debbie Allen says:

    Good story and photos!

  2. Capt. Richard Barone says:

    nice blog..but I think the turbines are ugly

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