Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2017 Contents JANUARY 5 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
REGIONAL | BG11
Costa Rica runs
on clean energy
Costa Rica ended 2016 on a
particularly green note.
The Central American
nation ran entirely on re-
newable energy for more
than 250 days last year,
the country's power operator announced.
Renewables supplied about 98.1 per cent
of Costa Rica's electricity for the year, the
Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said
in mid-December. Fossil fuels provided the
remaining 1.9 per cent.
The country of 4.9 million people gets
most of its electricity from large hydropower
facilities, which are fed by multiple rivers
and heavy seasonal rains.
Geothermal plants and wind turbines
are also prominent sources of power, while
biomass and solar power provide a tiny but
growing share of electricity.
A few diesel-burning power plants round
out the electricity mix, but Costa Rica has
barely used them in the last two years.
The country enjoyed a 110-day stretch of
carbon-free electricity from June 17 through
Oct 6, when the power company briefly
turned on its fossil fuel plants. After that
blip, Costa Rica resumed its run of consec-
utive, fossil fuel-free days, a spokesman for
ICE told Mashable on Dec 13.
In 2015, Costa Rica used 98.9 per cent re-
newable energy, slightly more than 2016's
Compared to larger, more industrialised
countries, Costa Rica seems like a verdant
gem amid a pile of black coal rocks.
But Costa Rica's smaller economy and
natural resources give it an advantage over
an energy-hungry powerhouse like the
Costa Rica's population, for instance, is
roughly 65 times smaller than the US's. It
also generates about 373 times less electricity
than the United States does, according to
national energy data from both countries.
Given its huge energy appetite, the U.S.
faces a bigger challenge in greening the
Nearly 15 per cent of the US electricity
supply for January-October 2016 came from
hydropower, wind, solar and other renewable
sources, the US Energy Information Admin-
istration reported on Dec 23.
Coal and natural gas together account-
ed for nearly two-thirds of US electricity
generation over that period. Nuclear power
provided the remaining 19 per cent.
For Costa Rica, the clean energy success
story is likely to continue into 2017.
ICE's president Carlos Manuel Obregón
said the power company expects renewable
power generation to stay "stable" this year,
thanks in part to the nation's four new wind
farms and favourable hydro-meteorologi-
cal conditions, which are projected near the
nation's hydropower plants. AP
A hydroelectric plant run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute
in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Wind turbines run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute are seen
along a ridge line in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
A worker cleans the
panels in a solar power
park run by the Costa
Rican Electricity Institute
(ICE) as the power
company has managed to
produce all of the
electricity for the nation
from renewable energy
sources for more than 80
days straight on March
26, 2015 in Guanacaste,
Costa Rica. The milestone
has been reached with
the use of hydroelectric
power plants and a
combination of wind,
solar, and geothermal
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says
it had provided US$11.7 billion for various projects in
Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016.
The Washington-based financial institution
said funds were also provided by its subsidiary In-
ter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).
"Between the IDB and the IIC, disbursements ex-
ceeded US$9.6 billion during the year, confirming
the IDB Group's role as the region's leading source of
multilateral financing," the IDB said in a statement.
It said both the approvals and the disbursements
were "in line with the priorities set by the IDB Group's
48 member countries, such as ensuring that at least
35 per cent of the new financing goes to the region's
smallest and least developed economies."
The IDB said 2016 was the first full year of opera-
tions of the renewed IIC, which is now in charge of the
IDB Group's non-sovereign guaranteed operations.
During 2016, the IDB said the IIC approved a total
of 153 deals for US$2.26 billion, of which 100 corre-
sponded to the Trade Facility (US$457 million).
Of the larger transactions, the IDB said 41 per
cent went to infrastructure projects, 40 per cent to
financial institutions and 19 per cent to corporate
The IDB-led sovereign guaranteed operations went
to state modernisation projects (33 per cent), infra-
structure and energy (30 per cent), social programmes
(24 per cent), climate change (12 per cent) and trade
and integration (one per cent). CMC
IDB approved billions
for projects in 2016
Venezuela govt sells
US$5B of new bonds
Venezuela's central government has issued new
dollar debt for the first time in more than five years,
selling US$5 billion of the notes to state bank Banco
de Venezuela SA and the central bank, according to
a senior government official.
The bond, which was issued Dec 29, matures in
2036 and has a coupon of 6.5 per cent, according to
data complied by Bloomberg. The government offi-
cial, who wasn't authorised to discuss the issuance
publicly, didn't provide additional details.
Cash-strapped Venezuela has been forced over the
past several years to reduce imports of essential items
including food and medicine to stay current on its
foreign debt obligations.
In October, state oil company Petroleos de Vene-
zuela SA completed a swap in which creditors holding
US$2.8 billion of bonds agreed to extend maturities
after weeks of tense negotiations that included dire
warnings from Caracas of a possible financial collapse.
The few details known about the new bond issu-
ance---the first such sale since October 2011---suggest
it might be linked to Chinese lending, according to
Francisco Rodriguez, the chief economist at Torino
Capital in New York.
"My guess---but it's just a guess---is that given un-
certainty as to whether Venezuela would be able to
deliver the oil necessary for repayment, the Chinese
may have asked for the loan to be also guaranteed with
a bond," he said in an e-mailed response to questions,
adding that he had been expecting a disbursement
of US$5 billion related to the renewal of a loan from
Venezuela's finance ministry didn't immediately
answer telephone calls or respond to an e-mailed
message sent seeking comment.
Venezuela's benchmark dollar bond that matures in
2027 saw its price rise from 41.13 cents on the dollar at
the start of 2016 to 51.25 cents on Dec 30. It currently
yields 20.7 per cent, according to data compiled by
"Taking place on Dec 29 with no approval by the
National Assembly and no promulgation notice in the
Official Gazette, this smells of some kind of end of the
year financial shenanigan from a government that is
out of cash and is desperately trying to hide it," said
Russ Dallen, a managing partner at Caracas Capital,
in an e-mailed response to questions. Bloomberg
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