The Costa Rican National Electric Company, ICE announced that since it launched the Miravalles Energy Facility located in the town of Bagaces, in the province of Guanacaste, a total of 1552 hectares of land have been reforested.
This achievement breaks with the negative belief that geothermal projects generate environmental damage in the protected areas where they are located.
Additionally, reforestation increased recreational and environmental tourism in the area, bringing economic benefits to the people of the neighboring communities.
The location of the Miravalles Solar Energy Park and Geothermal Plant, located east of the Rincon de Vieja National Park allowed ICE to connect reforested areas that were previously damaged by cattle grazing.
Today, these protected areas have been repopulated by numerous species of flora and fauna. Additionally, there have been sightings of various species of previously extinct animals, which have returned to the area to live under the protection of the national park and its water resources, in the province with the lowest amount of annual rainfall in the country.
In November of 2012, ICE officially inaugurated the Miravalles Solar Park in Bagaces, and this energy source has become another appropriate raw material in Costa Rica, producing electricity for the communities surrounding the project.
The solar park contains 4300 photovoltaic panels of 235 W of power each with an efficiency rating of 18.3%. This facility was built on 2.7 hectares of land, alongside the Miravalles Geothermal Plant, which opened in 1994 and has an installed capacity of 1 MW and at full capacity, it is expected to generate 1.2GWh annually, which is now injected into the local distribution lines for immediate consumption of approximately 600 nearby homes.
Both projects are part of a $9.75 million dollar grant from the Government of Japan called the Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by Generation System Solar Electricity for the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica under the Financial Grant Assistance of Japan Environment and Climate Change, based on the Japanese Cool Earth Partnership Initiative, which aims to mitigate the effects of global warming and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country inspecting property and construction he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about living and doing business in Costa Rica.
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