Government expects to have electricity and energy public policy in March 2015

October 22nd,2014

"Historically, energy changes have occurred for two reasons. Sometimes change has been forced by the depletion of the predominant energy source. Others have been induced by the appearance of a better source of energy. "

This was explained by the energy issue academic Jeffrey Ball, in a recent article . Costa Rica joins the living situation worldwide, therefore both reasons, as a political-economic factor: rates rise, the government claimed, this promises action.

Stocks started slow, after campaigning Luis Guillermo Solis promised lower rates "and" .

Once in power realized that the rate would not be selected and announced a national dialogue on the energy grid , which will define the way forward for the coming decades, as well as actions that ultimately achieve lower rates. This began Tuesday .

The end result will be a public policy matter, indicating specific guidelines, to which should be directed to public entities such as the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (ARESEP) as well as possibilities for private sector.

Environment Minister Edgar Gutierrez was satisfied with the progress of the dialogue, but was delayed and although the official himself had admitted that did not guarantee a reduction in prices . Already had forums in the north, south and contacts with Members.

The chief said he will talk at the table, known reviews and information which will be the "raw material" for the Energy Sector, which will define the policy in March 2014, but on Tuesday pushed the date to April.

Dialogue with more of 60 actors, to define a national road

While the Executive decided on a national dialogue, Members Otto Guevara and business cried and criticized the lack of action . Among these options is the stress and pass bills like Electric Contingency Plan, which proposes to expand the possibilities of the private sector for hydropower generation.

But Gutierrez insists that first question is whether the country wants to promote private investment in hydropower and not elsewhere.

According to the Minister, and have 67 players on the table, as environmentalists, business chambers, associations generators Indians. The difference in the faces generate differences, but this does not worry the authorities.

Read more: ''


Rains will allow low of 7% in thermal generation

Reservoirs exceed estimate of ICE, which could lead to reduced rates

October 05th,2014.

ICE could reduce, by about 7%, the projected thermal generation in 2015, if the rainfall is steady in the last quarter of this year.To launch the estimate, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) took as reference the current status of major reservoirs and compared with the calculated level in recent months.

The results reveal that the El Niño exercised less impact than expected, allowing plants to get more out of renewable sources.

Luis Pacheco, manager of the ICE, said it was too early to determine whether this actually lead to a reduction in electricity rates for users, because, according to studies, the effects of El Niño still do not stop.

"We hope the weather pattern over the next two months to ratify our forecast: by 2015 there would be a decrease in thermal generation close to 7%, which impacts the cost of electricity," said Pacheco.

Gabriela Chinchilla's (IMN) National Meteorological Institute reported that for the last quarter of normal rainfall scenario is projected.

October is usually the wettest month - for the Pacific and Central-Valley while December is the driest period.

Hydric State. Arenal Reservoir exceeded expectations: 29 September, the largest dam in the country recorded a level of 538 meters above sea level (masl), rather than the 536 meters that ICE planned for that week.

This despite that lack of rain, ripped the year with a reserve of less than in the last seven years water.

The low water mark set for this plant is 525 meters. Arenal has installed capacity of 330 megawatts (MW) and provided 627 million kilowatt hours (kWh) to the National Electricity System (SEN) in the 2013 capacity.

Meanwhile, the dam of the hydroelectric Pirrís was further surpassing expectations ICE: 29 September registered a level of 1,203 meters instead of 1,169 m calculated by the Institute.

Pirrís, located in the Los Santos is the country's third largest plant, in operation since 2011 and has a capacity of 30 billion cubic meters (m³).

That plant records a power of 134 MW and in 2013 generated over 450 million kWh.

Meanwhile, according to data from September, Angostura Reservoir in Turrialba Cartago, exceeded two meters (m) expectations.

Angostura has an installed capacity of 180 MW and is the second most energy generated in the country. In 2013, contributed 738 million kWh to meet demand.

The case is different for Cachi because the level of the dam started to decline since early July because it is undergoing maintenance and expansion. The idea is to grow the ICE power of 105 MW to 158 MW.

Read more: 'La Nación'


Aresep suggests ICE close half of thermal plants

Electricity generated costs up to three times that offered at the Isthmus market

Regulator claims that inefficiency is charged to tariffs ; ICE defends its use

October 1st, 2014

Aresep suggested ICE to get rid of half of its thermal plants and replace the energy they produce over imports of Regional Electricity Market (MER) in Central America.

That request came after proving that during the last year, imported energy was cheaper than that generated by four of eight thermal plants of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE): Canyon, Gas Moin, Moin III and San Antonio.

From June 2013 to May 2014, ICE used those facilities to cover 15% of the thermal energy, even though it meant spending much more: each megawatt hour (MWh) doubled the cost of the average megawatt generated by the four efficient power plants.

In the same period, on average, each "inefficient" megawatt (at $ 381, not including operating costs) doubled the price of imported megawatt MER of about $ 199. Imports led the country to save $ 180 per MWh, and last May, for example, involved a savings of $ 8 million.

The cost per MWh in Barranca, the less efficient heat, was $ 522; almost three times more expensive than the average MWh imported.

These are the results of the first study that reveals the Inspectorate Energy Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep) on the behavior of the ICE in the MER, between June 2013 and May 2014.

This dynamic market purchase directly impact electricity rates paid by consumers, said Juan Quesada, mayor of Energy.

A criterion Luis Pacheco, manager of the ICE, the proposed ARESEP replace the four plants is a "sign of ignorance of the subject."

Shopping versus 'waste'. The Institute has been increasing purchases MER happened to import four gigawatt hours (GWh) in June 2013, to 65 GWh in April 2014 imports came to cover a maximum of 8% of national demand, last April .

"He has had an outstanding performance in energy purchases. Even at a time when El Salvador and Panama were rationing it, this was the country that bought power this year, "he said.

Salvador Lopez, director of the National Center for Energy Control (Cence) of ICE, said in May that it would import the maximum possible power in the region.

"When we have had to use our most expensive plants, we have imported all the energy found in the region, which itself is cheaper. And all we need, we get it, "he said.

Read more: la Nación


Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa Rica

September 29th,2014.

Despite Costa Rica’s talk of its commitment to promoting consumer-based renewable energy sources to produce electricity, the country is lagging in its efforts. One setback involves the country’s electricity distributors, who some say are dragging their feet on requirements to offer customers the option of connecting to the national grid with small-scale electricity generation projects from renewable sources.

These companies, which include cooperatives such as Electrificación Rural de Guanacaste (Coopeguanacaste) and Electrificación de Los Santos (Coopesantos), as well as the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH) and the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL), have until Oct. 8 – just nine days from now – to comply with a requirement to allow all residential and commercial customers in the country to generate their own electricity through solar, wind, biomass and other renewable sources.

However, some of these distributors interviewed by The Tico Times said complying with the requirement by the approaching deadline would be difficult. Asked to explain why, they pointed the finger at the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) and the Environment Ministry (MINAE), which according to distributors, has lagged on meeting their responsibilities to assure that distributed generation becomes a reality countrywide.

But reality isn’t quite that simple.

ICE: A pioneer in distributed generation

Distributed generation from renewable sources began in Costa Rica as a pilot program carried out by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, or ICE. In October 2010, ICE launched the “Distributed Generation Pilot Program for Personal Consumption” to test the demand from consumers to produce their own energy with small systems that are connected to the national electricity grid. Customers can produce their own electricity through the pilot program using solar, wind, biomass and hydropower.

The initial duration of the program was two years, but in October 2012, ICE extended it through 2015. As of October 2013, 177 customers had signed up for distributed generation across ICE’s broad service areas. According to ICE, the first customers were eager to invest in environmentally sustainable energy options. Today, some 300 customers are participating, and by year’s end the total generation capacity is expected to grow to approximately 7 MW. Over time, participating electricity customers have increasingly sought the savings distributed generation offers, especially given Costa Rica’s consistently escalating utility prices.

Following the launch of that pilot program, the government began promoting distributed generation as a cost-effective, sustainable option across the country. In April 2011, faced with resistance from distributors and ARESEP to implement net metering, MINAE published two rare decrees in the official government newspaper, La Gaceta, to require action on introducing distributed generation. The directives ordered electricity sector agencies to develop their own pilot programs and pressed ARESEP to create a regulatory framework.

Read more: original article published at The Tico Times


Extra costs in fuel is charged to users

September 19th, 2014

Guests of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) Additional paid to the state company with the recognition of extra expense for the purchase of fuel for thermal generation during the months of February, March and April this year ¢ 45,696,000.

The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Aresep) endorsed that user fees is made by parties, following a request made by the ICE the day before the setting is adopted, on 27 July.

Thus, in the third quarter, the state-owned ¢ 24.890 million recovered in the last three months of the year will be ¢ 7.916 million. The remaining ¢ 12.890 million will be charged for the entire 2015, according to ICE's financial statements.

"ICE said the measure will not affect its financial equilibrium, and so, he vowed to take compensatory measures to restore," said Juan Manuel Quesada, mayor of Energy ARESEP.

He added that the request was accepted Institute, expeditiously, for convenience and public interest, given the evident relief that mean for users to make the payment for several months.

In February, March and April, the ICE had an expenditure of ¢ 66,956,000 in fuel, but was only recognized in rates in that period, ¢ 29,788,000.

ARESEP accepted, in its decision of last July, the difference between actual expenditure for the purchase of fuel and income (¢ 37,168,000); However, he added an additional compensation of ¢ 8.528 million for other resources to recover missing ICE.

Source: "La Nación"

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