The next potential leader in renewables? Nicaragua

26 Aug 2014

Nicaragua has gone from suffering blackouts on a regular basis only a decade ago to now being eyed as the next leader in renewable energy as a result of its energy policies and projects.

Even UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deemed a wind farm on Lake Nicaragua “very impressive” during a 29 July visit and said the Central American country has “vast potential of renewable energy resources”, including solar, wind, geothermal and hydro, Energy Digital reported.

Nicaragua’s renewable energy sector began taking off in 2005, when the government created incentives for renewable energy companies that included tax holidays and duty-free import of machinery.

At that time, high oil prices hampered Nicaragua’s energy accessibility.

The country’s aim, according to Javier Chamorro, head of export promotion agency ProNicaragua, was to move from about an 80pc dependency of oil for energy to 80pc dependency on renewables over 10 years, Energy Digital reported.

Investments began to flow into the country while its renewable-energy sector strengthened.

Steven Scott, investor relations chief of Ram Power, a geothermal company that has pledged or executed projects worth US$1.5bn in Nicaragua, said the country has made “extraordinary headway”, The China Post reported.

Nicaragua has new renewable energy goals now: to have 74pc of its energy come from renewable sources by 2017, and 90pc by 2020.

Renewables made up 51pc of Nicaragua’s energy last year.

Wind farm at Lake Nicaragua image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic