Costa Rica boasts 99% renewable energy in 2015

View of a wind farm of the National Power and Light Company in Santa Ana, Costa Rica on October 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ezequiel Becerra)

San José (AFP) - Almost all of Costa Rica's electricity came from renewable sources this year, making it one of a few countries in the world to eschew fossil fuels in energy generation, the state electricity agency said Friday.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said in a statement it achieved "99 percent renewable electricity generation" this year.

It also said for 285 days this year the country managed to power its grid on 100 percent renewable sources.

The path away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy in the small Central American nation is seen as aspirational for other countries wanting to cut fossil-fuel pollution blamed on global warming.

This month, a UN conference held in Paris struck a landmark deal committing countries to cutting their carbon emissions.

Three-quarters of Costa Rica's electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants, taking advantage of the country's abundant river system and heavy tropical rainfalls. The rest comes from geothermal, wind, biomass and solar sources.

ICE said it was ahead of renewable-energy targets it had set despite a year "that had been extremely dry."

Its electricity division chief, Luis Pacheco, boasted that "we are closing 2015 with renewable electricity milestones that have put us in the global spotlight."

He predicted an even better result in 2016 when a new $2.3-billion hydroelectric plant comes on line.