Nicaragua forecasts big move to renewables
When Nicaraguan authorities talked about “energy planning” five years ago, they were referring to the rolling blackouts scheduled each week to accommodate persistent power shortages.
Times have changed. With the addition since then of wind farms, geothermal plants and four power plants that burn bunker and diesel oil from Venezuela, Nicaragua today produces 40% more energy than in 2006.
When authorities talk about “energy planning” now, they are referring to a more ambitious effort: to switch the country’s energy matrix from 70% oil-based power to 94% renewable energy—hydroelectricity included—over the next five years.
The transition is already underway. Though the four new oil-fired plants initially provided 90% of the added power in 2007, they now account for 60% of new capacity as alternative sources have come online. And with the addition of new wind and geothermal plants to existing biomass and hydroelectric plants, Nicaragua will be producing 50% of its energy from non-fossil sources by the end of next year, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. That, the ministry says, compares to 35% today.
New plants on way