While a number of U.S. cities have committed to going 100 percent renewable for their energy sources in the coming years, they could learn a thing or two from Costa Rica. In 2016, the Central American country fulfilled more than 98 percent of its energy needs from sustainable sources—for the second year in a row.
For one, Costa Rica leverages its climate for big energy gains. The country ranks fourth in the world for the highest average rainfall and generates roughly 75 percent of its power from hydroelectric dams. Solar arrays and wind turbines make up for most of the remaining energy needs. The country plans on opening an additional four wind farms in 2017 to continue pushing output.
It also helps that the country doesn’t use much energy in the first place. The average Costa Rican resident uses just one seventh of the electricity consumed by the average American.
Known internationally for their forward-thinking environmental policies, Costa Rica plans to become the first carbon-neutral developing nation by 2021.