For a long time, many Nicaraguan towns have been losing power on a regular basis, causing feelings of irritation, and hampering productivity in everyday work. As of a few years ago, the small Central American country was nearly one hundred percent fuel dependent. Now, however, that it is all about to change. The country is beginning to adapt its practices to receive most of its energy from an enormous source of untapped potential – renewable sources – and big investors are stepping in.
Nicaragua’s land is poised for using renewable energy sources. Lake Nicaragua is a giant lake in the country with an area of over 3,191 square miles that stretches all the way to the Caribbean Sea, creating a massive wind tunnel. This is one place of many with enormous untapped potential for deriving energy from wind farms. The Amayo Wind Farm, a $95 million U.S.-Nicaraguan funded farm, is the first wind farm that is said to produce 40 megawatts of electricity.
Other forms of renewable energy like hydroelectric dams and geothermal plants are being used as well. One month ago, the European Investment Banks put out a loan of €130 million to support a hydro plant in Nicaragua. The Tumarin hydroelectric facility is set to begin operating in this calendar year. It will be a facility aimed at extracting power from flowing water of the Rio Grande de Matagalpa – a 270 mile long river that runs to the Caribbean Sea.
Another company, Ram Power, is also beginning to follow suit. They are now investing over $400 million in a geothermal plant near the Telica volcano. Ram Power has already successfully launched a project near the city of Leon, in an area known for natural fumaroles and geothermal resources. Geothermal energy is thermal energy that can be created and held in the earth. The energy comes in part from the origin of the Earth, as well as the radioactive decay of materials.
At the geothermal plants, they will try and locate the hot rock resources (on average, 6 kilometers beneath the earth’s crust). The hot rock heats underground water, which is then brought to the surface using an elaborate steam turbine system. From there, electricity can be created.
Now, the country is offering tax breaks and other incentives to businesses and firms interested in investing and making the concept of a strong and fuel efficient country a reality. Experts project not only that renewable energy sources will be able to support 80% of Nicaragua’s energy, but also be able to export electricity throughout the Central American Region.