NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
Costa Rica Goes 100 Percent Renewable
New NIOSH Report Recommends All Workplaces Be Tobacco-Free
> IN THE GLOBAL BATTLE AGAINST CLIMATE change,
renewable targets have been an indispensable
weapon. National, state and local governments
have set targets for renewable power and
continue to raise the bar as those targets are met.
While many people dream of a world powered by
100 percent renewable sources, only a few of the
world’s governments have approached or reached
This year, Costa Rica entered that elite group. In
March, the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE)
announced that the small Central American country had
been deriving all of its electricity from renewable sources
since 2015 began. According to the state-run utility, power was
generated from a mix of sources. Most of the country’s power
comes from hydroelectric, but a significant amount also comes
from geothermal sources. The remainder of its renewable
generation can be attributed to wind and solar.
Because hydroelectric power makes up such a large part of its
portfolio, the ICE credits the success in reaching the 100 percent
milestone mostly to heavy rainfall and water levels well above
projections at the nation’s four main reservoirs.
These conditions have made it “unnecessary to use oil to fuel
the country’s grid,” according to the ICE.
Not only has Costa Rica been providing clean power, but
also it has been selling it cheaply. The abundance of renewable
power made it possible to lower rates by 12 percent in April, and
that trend to continue in
the second quarter of the year,
by as much as another 15 percent.
Costa Rica is not the first to approach
or reach 100 percent renewables. Many
other, mostly small countries have
already done so. In January, the city of
Burlington, Vt., announced that it powered
up entirely on renewables, becoming the first
municipality in the United States to accomplish this feat.
> THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
issued a Current Intelligence Bulletin,
“Promoting Health and Preventing
Disease and Injury Through
Workplace Tobacco Policies,” which
recommends all workplaces become
tobacco-free and that employers
offer programs to help employees
quit tobacco-product use. These
recommendations include the use
of electronic cigarettes.
NIOSH cites the ongoing occupational
hazards of secondhand exposure as
justification for its recommendation. The
report aims to prevent occupation-related
illness and improve the general health of
workers who use the products or may be
involuntarily exposed to their use.
“This Current Intelligence Bulletin
marks a half-century since the first
Surgeon General’s Report on the health
consequences of smoking,” said NIOSH
director John Howard, M.D., in a press
release. “While cigarette smoking in the
U.S. has declined more than 50 percent
among all U.S. adults since then, about 20
percent of all U.S. workers still smoke, and
far too many nonsmoking workers are still
exposed to secondhand smoke at work.”
This is the first time NIOSH has made
any recommendations on e-cigarettes,
limited knowledge about their effects
The report contains details
about what constitutes a tobacco-
free workplace, and it includes
recommendations for how
employers can establish programs that
help employees quit tobacco-product
use. NIOSH isn’t requiring compliance,
and, on the whole, the recommendations
seem to promote worker health through
education and awareness.
The full report is available at www.cdc.