In the Rivas District, nestled between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean, nineteen 2.1 megawatt wind turbines are turning. Collectively, they are able to generate 33.9 megawatts of electricity for the tropical country of Nicaragua. These wind turbines make up the Amayo Wind Project, a wind farm which produces environmentally friendly electricity for the small, Central American nation. The Amayo Wind Project is part of a larger effort on the part of the Nicaraguan government to increase their production of clean, renewable electricity. Currently, Nicaragua has a goal of generating 90% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Wind Power, Making Clean Electricity is a Breeze
Nicaragua is poised to be a major producer of renewable energy. Due to their superb geographical location, they have the potential to generate huge amounts of energy from renewable sources, such as wind and geothermal power. In fact, studies estimate that Nicaragua has a near term wind power potential of over 800 megawatts. To put that into perspective, a single megawatt can power around 1,000 average American homes. With a population of around 6 million, Nicaragua will be able to cover a large portion of their electricity needs from just wind power alone.
Geothermal Power, Harnessing the Earth’s Energy
Deep below the Earth’s surface, large reservoirs of water exist. When these water reservoirs come into contact with magma, they heat up and produce steam. By harnessing the power of this steam and funneling it through a power plant on land, it is possible to make large amounts of clean, completely renewable energy. This is exactly what is happening at the Polaris and Momotombo geothermal power plants in Nicaragua right now. In fact, according to the World Bank, the potential geothermal output of Nicaragua is the best in Central America. It has a potential of producing 1,500 megawatts of energy. In addition to being much more environmentally friendly, geothermal energy can be relatively inexpensive to produce, especially compared to fossil fuels. In fact, it is estimated that the Polaris geothermal plant alone has already saved Nicaragua $88 million dollars through reductions in oil imports. Some even believe that the geothermal energy potential of Nicaragua is so great that they may begin exporting electricity to their neighboring countries soon.
Making Green Energy a Reality
Green energy isn’t merely a benevolent fantasy for Nicaragua, but a reality. The country already has many renewable energy plants installed, such as the Amayo Wind Farm and the Polaris and Momotombo geothermal plants, and it is on track to have even more. Between 2006 and 2012, Nicaragua attracted $1.5 billion in renewable energy investments, and the government plans to attract another $4 billion over the next 15 years. Nicaragua’s goal of producing 90% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 is a lofty one, but they are well on their way; currently the nation gets 58% of its energy from renewable sources. The future of renewable energy in Nicaragua truly is bright.
For further reading on renewable energy in Nicaragua, visit these links:
International Renewable Energy Agency: http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_RRA_Nicaragua_ES_2015_EN.pdf