Cease of ICE Pilot Plan alarm the energy sector

February 20th,2015

The renewable energy sector pleaded alarmed after learning that the ability and time established in the pilot solar energy that drove the ICE plan were exhausted.

The plan allowed the injection of 10 megawatts (MW) solar power to the electrical system, since October 2010. However, this came to an end on February 6 and since that day, ICE prevents the installation of more panels to distribution network.

In total, 366 clients were able to join the tool will not see a continuation, said yesterday the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

Now, the future of distributed generation remain with the still incomplete Regulation AR-NT POASEN (Planning, Operation and access to national grid), and the rules of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

Reactions. The cessation of guarantees for the installation of photovoltaic panels found unprepared households, companies and the Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy (Acesolar), which brings together some 80 physical and legal partners.

The renewable energy sector warned yesterday that, due to sudden cessation, 1,000 jobs in distributed generation hanging by a thread, as it was this plan that allowed them to operate.

According Acesolar, in 2014 the solar industry generated 600 jobs and if the technologies biomass, biogas, small hydro and add minieólica are 1,000 places involved.

"If we may reach 1% of the matrix, could generate thousands of new jobs, contributing to severe unemployment crisis afflicting the country," said Alejandro Brenes, manager of the firm Enertiva.

Before alerts alleged 1,000 jobless, Javier Orozco, head of Process System Expansion ICE, explained that the termination of the pilot scheme does not imply that those who participated to be removed from the mains, as these 366 customers signed a contract connection with the Institute for 15 years.

Peeter Geesink, owner of UTOPIGS Deporgen SA-a Dutch firm of pig production and tilapias- explained that, thanks to the pilot, the network could install 80 solar panels on their property of 60 hectares in Chomes, Puntarenas.

However, the plan termination prevented you connect more than 230 panels would help turn your company carbon neutral.

"Only days ago I approved funding to buy 230 more panels, but now I am attacked, as the ICE does not give me permission, and not told anything. Until now I find. Too bad, because I think an excellent contribution to the environment and stop it by sheer bureaucracy and formality, "he said.

Fees Thomas, owner of Solar IntiTech also unaware of the conclusion of the plan and explained that strike your company greatly.

"We have signed contracts for 450 panels and this will affect us much; silver was lost, "he said with concern.

The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) revealed this medium that have expressed interest in distributed generation paid four distributors (50% of total): ICE Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y ​​Luz (CNFL), the Company Public Service Heredia (ESPH) and Coopealfaro Ruiz.

Source:"La Nación"


Renewable Energy Sector fears loss of 1,000 jobs

In 2014 the solar industry generated more than 600 jobs, according Acesolar.

February 19th,2015

The renewable energy industry fears losing 1,000 jobs after the closure of the pilot of the ICE, which injected into the distribution network 10 megawatts (MW) of solar energy.

The pilot was promoted by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) to assess the impact of this source in the network of the National Electricity System (SEN) and started in October 2010 with 5 MW and two-year term. Just in 2012 began to get interested, and after studying the results, the Institute expanded the plan for three years and increased power up to 10 MW.

Last year, only the solar industry generated more than 600 jobs. If this other renewable technologies (biomass, biogas, mini hydro and mini wind) are added, distributed generation creates more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, said Harold Steinvorth, director of the Solar Energy Association of Costa Rica (Acesolar) .

Before alerts energy sector Javier Orozco, head of Process System Expansion ICE, said the cease-pilot does not imply that those who participated be removed from the system, because these 366 customers signed a connection with the Institute for 15 years.

Distributed generation is a system that allows small-scale power generators produce for their own consumption and also to market the surplus in the SEN.

For entrepreneurs like Alejandro Brenes, general manager of Enertiva, immediate solution to avoid the crisis in the sector is in the hands of ICE. This is because although the Regulation of Planning, Operation and System Access National Energy (POASEN) is in force since April 2014, is not yet sufficiently refined to define a north on distributed generation.

"The alternative is that the Institute will extend the term of the pilot until the legislation is implemented POASEN by the ARESEP" Brenes said.

However, Luis Pacheco, manager of the ICE, told The Nation that the plan ceased on February 6. In those circumstances, the future of distributed generation now be left to the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep), by POASEN.

"The pilot was defined objectives and goals aimed at investigating the impact of this generation in distribution networks, both as operating costs. It also was seen as an opportunity to assess market behavior associated with this technology. Fulfilled the timeframe of the project, we are in the process of evaluation and results of it, "Pacheco said.

Editor's Note: This information was updated at 3:00 pm

Source:'La Nación'



Lack of funding threatens the "tica" carbon neutrality

Direction of Climate Change has just four officials

December 07th,2014

Lima, Peru. The strategy of carbon neutrality is compromised because the country is still not binding, but depends on the goodwill.

This was announced by an audit report prepared by the Comptroller General of the Republic, dated November. We need to formalize the carbon neutrality strategy to be binding to public institutions and sectors is emphasized.

"Product development and interdisciplinary activities, because the actions contained in that instrument require the participation of various executing agencies for the same product is needed," said Comptroller.

With a commitment assumed in 2007, Costa Rica was ahead of other countries in seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021 and thus celebrate the bicentennial of its independence. In September, President Luis Guillermo Solis ratified in New York this goal.

However, the strategy and action plan ails another evil: lack of funding to precisely orchestrate the development to which the country aspires.

Told by the Comptroller, you know the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae).

"Let's say the carbon neutrality Costa Rica builds on the 2005; that means 2020 will not add one ton of carbon. That we are working. We are conducting a comprehensive review with hard data and simulations of the target to see if there is indeed a real feasibility of achieving it and if not, then generate a proposal supported by scientific information, "said Environment Minister Edgar Gutierrez.

For Secretary of Environmental Presidential Council and the Sectoral Council of Environment, Maria Virginia Cajiao, carbon neutrality and climate change are "posing as integrated management of land, which includes adaptation and mitigation."

In fact, according to Maria Virginia Cajiao, the National Development Plan 20152018 commitment to low-carbon growth as a strategy of resilience (resilience to adversity) to the impacts of climate change.

The truth is that the date of fulfillment of the goal of carbon neutrality is getting closer and in the short term, the Comptroller's Office has imposed a date to formalize the instrument and thus make it binding: May 2015.

Priority. In 2009, the Department of Climate Change (DCC) of the Ministry of Environment (Minae) developed the National Strategy for Climate Change Action Plan which prioritizes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions (which cause global warming global) in the energy and transportation.

According to the V National GHG Inventory (IMN) National Meteorological Institute, the country issued 8.78 million tons of carbon equivalent (includes all GHGs) in 2010. Transportation was the largest emitter with 4.67 million tons.

In adaptation, the plan focuses its actions on water resources and agriculture for being so sensitive to climate variability.

"The carbon neutrality depends on the ability of DCC to convince because the goal is not binding and touches us convince with four people," said Wílliam Alpizar, director of this dependence Minae.

He added: "We need people and resources. Nor may only resources of cooperation, because that is not sustainable. They have to be resources that come from the national budget. "

Although his work should be orchestrating the other institutions and sectors, DCC operates four when, according to his manager, a staff of at least 15 is required.

This lack of resources is evident when the Comptroller of the Republic states that lack mechanisms for monitoring and measuring.

"The instrument used for such monitoring is an array that does not allow reasonably estimate the degree of progress in achieving the products listed in the Action Plan therefore only displayed if an activity is in progress or completed, without that compliance deadlines, rates of progress, or another important for defining the fulfillment of the goals indicated therein information display, "says the report.

Read more: "La Nación"


ICE comes to the rescue of the CNFL so that it can meet its debts

Agreement allowed the Company to meet creditors, acknowledges manager

Company has limited ability to cover short-term liabilities, says CGR

January 19th,2015

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) came to the rescue of the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y ​​Luz (CNFL), last year, so that the company could face paying debts with creditors.

The ICE allowed its subsidiary postpone, for this year, the settlement of a bill of ¢ 19,000 million energy purchases made last November.

So they recognized the Nation Victor Solis, general manager of the CNFL; and Marvin Céspedes, administrative and financial director of the state firm.

"It was agreed, together with ICE, November move the bill to be paid during 2015. And thus allowing the attention of all the commitments that the Company has with its creditors," Solis said.

For its part, the administrative and financial officer said on other occasions, had arrears in payments to ICE; but never such a high amount. The CNFL canceled a month, on average, ¢ 20,000 million to the Institute for the purchase of energy.

The Company is responsible for supplying 520,000 subscribers among households and businesses in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). 90% of that purchase electricity to ICE.

The CNFL was obliged to inform the agreement with the Institute through a relevant fact, due to a request from the operator pension Vida Plena.

The company has placed debentures in the local market, amounting to ¢ 52,300 million. 43% is held by pension operators, as recorded by the Pensions (SUPEN).

Solis said that, last year, made a round of meetings with its main creditors to inform them about the financial situation of the company.

"The risk evaluators maintain our positive rating and have the support of ICE Group," said the chief.

The CNFL, along with Radiographic Costarricense (RACSA) are the two main subsidiaries of ICE. In the latter, the Institute has had to transferring resources, in recent years, for their financial problems.

Read more: 'La Nación'




The opening of the electricity market

Insist on centralism and protection of ICE is not good policy

We must be open to competition, decentralization and regional market

December 27th,2014

A few days ago, the executive and the ICE reported that they drive the Contingency Bill Power, which has as one of its up 15-30 percent of national generation by the private sector purposes. Instead they proposed no other initiative. Their strategy seems to be, simply, tranquility, arguing that domestic demand through 2019 will be covered by plants in operation or contracted.

Days ago, the Government had also ruled out even discuss formulas to enable geothermal wealth that lies in the basement of some national parks can be exploited with respect for the environment.

Both decisions, inconvenience and myopic in themselves, contradict the announced disposal of the executive to thoroughly discuss options for ensuring long-term supply of electricity, creating conditions for lower prices, expand the sources, to further encourage clean energy and adapt our electricity market to changing national and regional conditions. Instead, reflect a mixture of ideological prejudices and defense of bureaucratic-institutional constituted schemes, resulting in a centralist conception of power generation counter to international best practices and best use of public resources, and lead to put the interests of an entity-the Costa Rican Electricity- over the country in general.

Incidentally, both decisions have been emptied of relevance so-called "forum for dialogue on energy issues" coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and raised as a multi-instance, in order to discuss the best options and explore the best solutions to address our challenges and opportunities in the field.

The assertion that domestic demand will be covered over the next four years is, to say the least risky. First, it is possible that the electricity needs increase, if the economy grows more vigorously, or if transportation that used to replace fossil fuels are introduced. Secondly, there is no guarantee that the estimated supply materialize, the projects will be developed as planned (which rarely happens) or meteorological events unexpectedly not affect the ability of dams. Worse, refer only to Costa Rica as the scope of our electricity market, and leave out any consideration the regional space that was created with the interconnection of the Isthmus, is to ignore a new reality, both supply and demand, which could offer great opportunities.

Such a parochial view, in a market that tend to expand geographically increasingly contradicts a recent initiative of ICE, aimed, according to their spokesmen, to sell services to structure and build mega power generation in Central America and the Caribbean. The ICE is not a construction company. It is much more consistent with its focus on being efficient, produce cheaper energy and compete with it in the expanded market mission.

Keep the ceiling of 15% for the private sector will involve further reduce the chances of achieving the goal of becoming un-neutral carbon in the 2021 country and further reduce the incentives or pressures on the ICE to reduce the cost burden unnecessary. Indeed, the announcement of the sale of outsourcing involves recognizing the existence of idle staff, which adds to the economic weight of the entity and, therefore, press to increase the rates.

Far from maintaining a pernicious attachment to outdated models, to protect an entity rather than national interests, and centralism bet instead of diversification, what our country needs, urgently, is another matter. We refer to a transformation of its electricity market to be re really competitive and efficient, offer equal terms to all participants and is able not only to meet the current and future demand, but also to become a generator of foreign exchange through its extension beyond our borders.

Source: "La Nación"

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