Costa Rica has had great achievements in areas including electrical energy and even progress with renewable energy. The Central American country covered 99.92% of its electricity demand with renewable energies in 2021.
The entire population is privileged in various energy sources, such as hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, thermal, from bagasse and solar, all this and more was part of the words of the Vice Minister of Energy, Ronny Rodríguez, who is an industrial and electromechanical engineer for the European Union-Central America Renewable Energies Forum, which was held in Hamburg.
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Because it is a relevant issue and because of the figures mentioned above, The Costa Rica News wanted to talk exclusively with the Executive President of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), Marco Acuña.
Marco is a Costa Rican born in a rural area of the province of Limón. In his community they did not have electricity, an element that marked his life and that led him to work as the president of Grupo ICE, because it was the institution that in his childhood came to provide electricity in the community.
Acuña was interested in training in the area of electrical energy, which is why today he is an electrical engineer graduated from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), then he studied to obtain his master’s degree in electrical engineering, also from the same university, before that had been incorporated into the College of Engineers and Architects of the country, because that is part of what must be done in
When he began to have responsibilities in administrative or managerial positions, he decided to pursue a master’s degree from the United Kingdom university, Heriot-Watt.
Goals and purposes as president of ICE
A large part of human beings take into account goals or purposes to fulfill in the short or long term, of course Marco Acuña, made some of us known, and the main thing is to continue generating value through their companies for Costa Rica, ” said generation of value is a very large line but it means a transformation to adapt to the new needs of the society environment, specifically focused on improving connectivity in the country, in rural areas more than anything,” he said.
Among the purposes of the president of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity, is to improve the aspect of organizational culture, raise motivation and commitment that is even greater to continue serving the country, of course something that has to do with competitiveness, which is responsible management of electricity rates so that this has a positive impact on the economy.
“In the very near future, we want to start with the implementation of fifth-generation wheels for both companies and people, generating a more competitive environment in the country with more jobs, social and economic development, as well as well-being for the population,” he said.
What inspires you?
Marco Acuña’s inspiration, to carry out any project or goal, comes from the people they work for, since ICE is a company that has more than 70 years and has been characterized by not leaving anyone behind, always thinking of community, service to the community, in addition to the companies and businesses that also generate employment for people, the other is the ICE group’s work team, “which always makes you feel motivated to be able to provide them with the tools that they need to carry out their work and in this way meet the objectives that I mentioned earlier. So what motivates me the most is the people”.
His point of view on the power plants for Costa Rica is that ICE has the largest power generation park in the country, it has reservoirs that store water to produce electricity in the dry season, they have a fundamental asset to supply the electricity demand of the country, not only in energy, but they give strength to the system, so that energy is always available when people and companies need it”.
Power plants that give firmness
In this way, the Institute’s generation park is a renewable matrix, which guarantees a lot of value to the country, according to Acuña, more than anything now in view of the costs of fossil fuels, other countries are suffering from this rate increase, the ICE keeps on a route of gradually lowering the fee. In general, they have a generation park -strong and consolidated-, which allows them to provide a service in Costa Rica and export approximately 10% of the energy to other countries in the region.
The electrical system of Costa Rica and worldwide
In Marco Acuña’s opinion, regarding the electrical system of the country and the world, “Costa Rica defined a route more than 70 years ago to where it wants to go from the point of view of electricity generation and that is towards clean energies, the consequence of this is that today we have more than 99% of annual electricity generation through renewable generation or renewable sources and we are going to follow that line, right now we are precisely building a new geothermal plant in Guanacaste, and we are also visualizing solar plants for the future and wind plants, either by the ICE or by private developments, but always in the line of renewable generation, in addition, we are working on the incorporation of technologies that allow us to take more advantage of renewable energies, such as energy storage and also aspects related to the use of that energy, so that when the demand is a bit low, having other uses such as the decarbonization of industrial processes rials or electromobility,” he stressed.
Regarding the ICE thermal plants, Marco considers that they are very robust, they have one that has been operating for 25 years, that is something important, because it means that it has been given excellent management of the geothermal field of the deposits that still allow steam to be exploited. to produce electricity, “and I believe that this is one of the strengths that we have for the future, that energy is quite abundant in Costa Rica due to the volcanoes that it possesses and we are going to continue on that path, further strengthening the work team that we have today and that complies with more than 40 years of experience working with geothermal”.
Work with Telecommunications
The tasks that Marco Acuña has promoted as president of ICE for telecommunications has been to implement telephone networks, fax, international communication, cellular technology 2G, 3G and 4G and they hope to do it with 5G, “we have always had a very relevant position and also that we maintain a copper network that covers the entire country, which also means that the digital divide is not greater in the country, as it can be in other countries, which represents a challenge because we have to evolve that copper network, do new technologies, but that’s already something we’re starting to migrate from.
Projects focused on renewable energy, on electric vehicles and how do you consider the current situation of crude oil in the world?
Regarding projects with renewable energy, Acuña mentioned geothermal energy, which is important because it is
energy that does not vary, does not depend on atmospheric conditions as other technologies do, and that gives added value to the system, ” We see distributed generation as an opportunity that is also well managed and managed with clear rules, it can be of benefit to the country complemented with firm energies like the ones we have in our geothermal plants, we have to see that the economy is going to be electrified, then investments in generation can not only be made by ICE but there will be other actors, for example, distributed generators that come to provide energy in the system and that we can manage through the dispatch center, taking advantage of it and generate value for society by powering electric vehicles, electric buses, trains, industrial processes, among others,” he added.
Regarding his opinion on crude oil, the ICE leader concluded by saying that crude oil is a roller coaster, there are pressures that have caused crude oil to rise in price considerably in recent months, and that generates an energy dependency that for any country it is problematic, in Costa Rica we are fortunate that at least in the electricity sector there is no such dependency and that gives us a greater competitive advantage compared to other countries, “as we gradually reduce our dependency on crude oil for energy, because we do use it a lot for industry transportation, there we are going to become more resilient to events that happen geopolitically that we cannot control.”
Every word supported by Marco Acuña and the recent information on renewable energy in Costa Rica and everything related to the subject, proves that the country, its inhabitants are fortunate, growth must always prevail and always good management, of the collective interest.
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