Monday, January 26, 2009

Sustainable Energy in Nicaragua

Good Weather for a Windmill
Windmills in Nicaragua close to the border with Costa Rica.

Nicaragua has a relatively good relationship with Venezuela. For that reason, we receive pretty much all of our petroleum from them.

The generators in Managua which power Nicaragua with electricity run on Venezuelan petroleum. These are the same generators which regularly shut off a year ago in planned black-outs, saving petroleum and government money, but costing the country's economy.

A different view of the same windmills, this time from the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Photo by Kamweti Mutu.

Someone, however, apparently realized that was no way to run a country long term and the Nicaraguan goverment has been investing in sustainable energy!

I am shocked! In a good way!

The windmills are in an agricultural area. Photo by Kamweti Mutu.

Suzlon in India was contracted to build the windmills and I can personally attest from my time in the house that Germans built that this lake front is a great windy place.

Windmills and Volcanos
Windmill with Volano Maderas behind.

The windmills form a network expected to generate 40 MW of energy, or 6% of Nicaragua's energy use. Coupled with geothermal plants and ethanol from sugarcane, Nicaragua's government hopes to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil for energy needs to 3% by 2013.

But you don't have to take my word for it. BusinessWeek, EnergyPortal24 and MSNBC is much more information on the project and Nicaragua's advances in alternative sources of energy.

Windmill Construstion
Windmill construction.

I can't leave it at that, however. I do have to mention that in what seems to be par for the course in Nicaragua, a small bridge collapsed while one of the generators was being trucked to the site. It shut down traffic between Costa Rica and Managua for the day. Let's hope that's all that goes wrong!

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