Nicaragua on the Rise as Next Leader in Renewable Energy

The Central American country of Nicaragua could be the next big leader in renewable energy. The country has recently received praise for its aggressive energy policies, as well as its drive to foster renewable energy projects.

When visiting a wind park on Lake Nicaragua, U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon called the park “very impressive.” He went on to say that Nicaragua “has vast potential of renewable energy resources—solar, wind, you have very strong, constant wind, and geothermal and hydro. You are quite lucky.”

All of this is made more impressive by the fact that only 10 years ago, the country suffered from rolling blackouts regularly.

“We were facing power rationing of up to 12 hours a day,” Lizeth Zuniga, executive director of the Renewable Energy Association of Nicaragua, said.

High oil prices made energy accessibility a bit difficult for the country, so in 2005, the government created incentives for renewable energy companies. They were given tax holidays, as well as free import of machinery.

“We were going to move from around 80 percent dependency on oil for our energy to around 80 percent dependency on renewables over the course of a 10-year period,” Javier Chamorro, head of export promotion agency ProNicaragua, said.

Investments flowed steadily into the country and Nicaragua’s renewable energy sector took off.

“They have made extraordinary headway,” Steven Scott, Ram Power’s investor relations chief, said. “Nicaragua has been known for many years as the land of lake and fire, and that translates into hydro and geothermal.”

Last year, 51 percent of the country’s energy came from renewable sources, and the goal is to reach 74 percent by 2017, and 90 percent by 2020.

What’s important to note, though, is the country still has massive renewable energy potential and is ripe for investors to make the stated goals a reality. 

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