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Sunday 26 October 2008, San José, Costa Rica 

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Germany Behind Renewable Energy Drive in Guanacaste
(Infocom) — Germany’s Environment Vice Minister, Michael Mueller, said at an official visit to Costa Rica that the country is “a model for Latin America in topics such as climate change and biodiversity” and encouraged Ticos to persevere in their goal to produce all energy from renewable sources by 2021.

“Costa Rica already generates more than 90 percent of its electricity through renewable sources,” Mueller indicated. “It will be exemplary how this country will become the first country in the world where energy supplies will come from 100 percent renewable energies, that is, will become a carbon-neutral country, by 2021 on the 200th anniversary of independence.”

Mueller visited the country at a time when Juwi Group, a firm headquartered in the German city of Wörrstadt, is developing the Guanacaste Wind Energy Park. In the opinion of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, this project is a good example of success technology and knowledge transfer to Central America — as projects such as this help the country depend less on traditional energy imports, creates jobs and contributes to the protection of global climate.

Germany can be proud that German companies with investments in wind energy and other renewable energies are involved in this process,” Mueller said. “That’s how we can transfer our success experience of 20 years in the development of renewable energies.”

In Guanacaste, Juwi is building — along with local and international partners — what will be Central America’s largest wind energy facility, with a total of 55 wind generators with total capacity of 49.5 megawatts. This means that annual electricity production from the park will be 240 million kilowatt hours, or enough to power some 70,000 homes according to European standards.

“Construction of the wind energy park, which began in 2008, is having good progress. On average, two or three towers are installed every week. This project is a milestone in the history of the company, as it represents our first incursion in the wind energy market in the Latin American region,” said Juwi founder and president Matthias Willenbacher, who was part of Vice Minister Mueller’s tour, and who only a few weeks ago was recognized with the 2008 Climate Protection Award in Germany.

The German provider of towers and wind turbines for this project is Enercon, which is shipping by boat a total of 55 E-44 turbines. In the future, Juwi and Enercon will be in charge of operating the wind energy park, although Juwi has the biggest stake in the project as its developer.

Costa Rica will benefit from this wind energy project — which is expected to plug into the national energy network in 2009 — particularly during the dry season (December-May), when the plant will continuously generate power. This is the time of the year when the country has to resort to generating electricity by burning fossil fuels such as diesel and bunker (which must be imported at increasingly high price), because precipitation levels decline and hydroelectric dams dry up.





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