PAC bet for cheaper geothermal electricity rates

Bench does not endorse exploitation of that source by private companies

October 30th,2014

The main challenge of the Members of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) to lower the cost of electricity tariffs is juicing up the generation of geothermal energy in national parks.

The fraction required to be the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) in sole charge of exploiting the heat emanating from the interior of the Earth. Thus, cheap energy is constantly generated, while safeguarding biodiversity is ensured.

The proposal was presented by PAC with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) -in the context of the national dialogue on electricity- and yesterday published government legislator Javier Cambronero.

Geothermal energy is used in the country since 1994 and today is the second source that's generated.

The PAC also boosts sources such as wind, solar and biomass, which, in its proposal, will be the only ones that can exploit private generators. The frame does not discount the import of natural gas for generation.

There are three energy bills presented Citizen Action and remain valid today in the legislative process.

One of them is related to geothermal exploitation (19,233), pending in the Committee on Agricultural since 5 September.

Deputy Otton Solis, principal sponsor of the plan proposes to authorize ICE exploitation anywhere in the national parks, provided you stick to strict environmental standards.

In the Environmental Commission are processed from the previous administration, the Biofuels Act (18,789) and the Law on Electricity Generation by Biomass (16,788). Both, according to the deputy Cambronero are about to be dictated.

"With biofuels plan, we will allow the private sector recovery in depressed areas of agro sector through the production of palm oil, castor oil plants and other high-energy," he said.

The project biomass fraction intended to obtain cheap energy advantage agro residues such as bagasse from sugar cane and pineapple waste.

Only ICE. Emilia Molina, head of the PAC fraction, requires that ICE is the only manager to develop from now on hydropower and geothermal.

"We are against increasing private participation, especially in the case of run of river plants, and we believe that ICE should stay with geothermal," he said.

Source: 'La Nación'


Fair shows opportunities and challenges of solar energy

Technologies will be exhibited and challenges will be of the existing generation in the country

October 30th,2014

The advantages and challenges of solar energy in the country will be analyzed, and Saturday morning at a meeting sponsored by the same industry.

Promoters also evacuate doubts now that this energy is more appetizing to the steady increase since 2012 in the price of electricity intended.

ExpoSolar 2014 will be held at the National Cultural Centre (formerly Fanal) in San Jose. Tomorrow will open doors between 1 pm and 5 pm, and Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm Admission is free.

There will be 24 exhibitors, including companies and universities to present products and services, and provide information and advice about the possibilities of interconnection to electricity distribution networks, technologies on the market, installation costs, procedures and scope of the available systems in Costa Rica.

Chats. There will also be technical talks on the first day. For example, he explained what the current level of utilization of solar energy in the energy mix of the country's legislation and the regulatory framework for these facilities.

It will also discuss the necessary considerations before you invest in solar systems of medium and large scale, including the issue of financing.

On Saturday there will be discussions, but to the public in general. Among other topics, these offer advice on energy efficiency basics of solar thermal and photovoltaic energy, which must include a proposed facility to a home or business and what is the link to the grid of a system of this kind.

At the same time, information on training and university courses related to solar energy will be released and what the technology of third generation solar cells.

First. The Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy ( Acesolar ) is organizing this first event to showcase the progress of the industry here.

With just over 50 members, led since 2012 Acesolar local research efforts, trade and transfer of knowledge in the sector of clean energy to the Costa Rican society, which, given the rising cost of electricity, now pays more attention this energy alternative.

In just seven months of this year, the cost of electricity rose 20% from the increased use of bunker to generate, as detailed in August the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).

"ExpoSolar responds to the growing interest in Costa Rican society on renewable energy today, when solar energy emerges as an alternative to the heat," said Mauricio Solano, a member of the Board of Acesolar.

Source: 'La Nación'


ICE electricity rates will increase in January

The same price that was effective last quarter would apply

October 08th,2014.

Electricity tariffs for subscribers ICE would rise in January, and would just as they were last quarter, according to estimates by the entity.

That means the kilowatt hour (kWh) paid by an average household consumption (200 kWh per month) would increase from 88 ¢ to 91 ¢.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) revealed in a press conference this morning, he plans to request an increase ARESEP for ordinary rate of 13.2%, which, if approved, would apply from January 2015.

However, Carlos Obregon, chief executive of ICE, said that at the same time lower the amount of purchased fuels, which he is recognized each quarter using the methodology Variable Fuel Cost (CVC).

What is the Institute seeks a kind of balance to regulate the cost impact to the end user. Thus, if the two components are added fee, customers would be charged the same bill that claimed over the past quarter.

Private participation plays an important role in this estimation: Francisco Garro, Director of Financial Planning Institute, explained that private generation for 2015 will rise by 40% from this year, which will contribute to a lower temperature participation by the same percentage.

To guarantee the rate stability during 2015, ICE will request the Board of the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (ARESEP) to distribute the increase of 13.2% over the year. The Institute ARESEP processed before, last July, a similar request cost sharing provided lower the impact to the final rate. Then, the regulatory body approved it.

Source:'La Nacion'


Inevitable rise in electricity

It is impossible to contain the increase in electricity rates during the 18 months requested by the Government

During the last year, imports were cheaper than the generation in four of the eight national thermal power plants

October 08th,2014.

The Regulatory Authority for Public Services (ARESEP) finds it impossible to contain the increase in electricity rates during the 18 months requested by the Government to conclude the study of alternative energy policy.

In January, the rainfall will require the generation of electricity from fossil fuels and keep frozen rates jeopardize the financial health of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The problem is not at the discretion of the authorities. On the one hand, is the product of the forces of nature. Furthermore, meets the requirements of the law, in this case, the existing tariff model.

The only solution proposed by ARESEP to bring reality to the wishes of the Executive is to modify the methodology for setting rates to defer the cost of thermal energy. Not really a solution, but a postponement of payments that people should do, sooner or later, after the time period of stable rates.

To achieve this, the ICE should ask ARESEP not applying the variable cost of fuel (CVC) quickly adopted to compensate the state enterprise spending on oil imports.

Removal of CVC force the ICE to submit in January a projected annual costs to calculate, from it, to a flat rate throughout the year. If the fee is not enough to cover the cost of fuel, ICE must submit a hard to adjust rates next year. In addition, the institution risks suffering from lack of financial imbalances expeditious compensation.

The problem, of course, is not ICE, but of the national population. Despite the sharp contraction of domestic electricity use, users are now paying a hefty bills compared to the recent past. The industry, meanwhile, says it has lost 6,366 jobs between January 2013 and July just passed. The loss is attributed to the decrease in competitiveness, largely due to the cost of energy input.

Some companies, say industry spokesmen, have been forced to close or at least neighboring countries to transfer processes whose electricity usage is intensive.

Read more:'La Nación'


ICE president backtracks after saying electricity rates would increase by more than 13 percent in early 2015

October 08th,2014.

The executive president of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), Carlos Obregón, on Wednesday morning said in a press conference the agency would file a request with the Public Services Regulatory Authority for a 13.2 percent increase in electricity rates for the first half of 2015.

Obregón said the request is based on projections for 2015 regarding operating expenses, electricity importation and fuel purchases for thermal generation.

Minutes after Obregón’s statement, President Luis Guillermo Solís reacted surprised and said he was unaware of ICE’s pending announcement.

Last April before taking office, Solís said one of his first actions as president would be to lower public utility rates. In July, he promised that electricity rates would remain unchanged during the next 18 months.

At noon on Wednesday, during a public event at Casa Presidencial, Solís said he would keep his promise not to raise electricity rates before the 18-month period.

The president denied ICE’s announcement was contradictory to his policy plans, calling it a misunderstanding.

“ICE is planning in advance for their expenses and rates, in case they need to use more oil for thermal generation after the 18-month period. But there will not be any increase [in rates],” he said.

“There is no confusion or contradiction between Zapote and Sabana Norte,” Solís said, referring to the San José locations of Casa Presidencial and ICE, respectively. “It was information that was not fully understood.”

Solís even used his Twitter account to ensure that rates would not increase.

“There will not be a change in electricity rates for the 18 months, as we previously stated,” he tweeted.

ICE’s Obregón then told TV Channel 11 that ICE’s request somehow would not affect users: “We foresee that the cost of generation using fossil fuels will reduce, meaning generation using renewable sources will increase. Therefore, we requested a change in the composition of the rates, but this change will not affect rates for our customers.”


Source: Tico Times

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