by Adam Williams
A drive along the Inter-American Highway through Central
America provides a glimpse of what the isthmus hopes the
regional energy market will soon become. On the lone
intercontinental roadway that runs the Pacific coast from
Guatemala to Panama City, windmills, hydroelectric dams and
geothermal stations at the bases of volcanoes periodically pock
Green Shoots on the Isthmus
The need to reverse Central America’s reliance on fossil fuels is expected to spur an investment boom in renewable energy.
Foreign companies have responded, but challenges lie ahead.
Yet as more renewable energy projects pop up throughout the
region, Central America finds itself in a battle to reverse the
trend of its recent reliance on petroleum. According to the
Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), in the early 1990s,
renewable energy sources provided the region with about 90% of
its electricity, with the rest coming from petroleum
generation. By 2010, ICE estimates that only about 58% of
regional electricity was generated from renewable sources,
while petroleum and carbon produced about 42%.
The reason for this, according to ICE, has been a
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