Costa Rica approves hydro project concession law

President Oscar Arias has signed a new law ensuring the participation of private companies in the development of hydropower projects in Costa Rica.

Arias signed the framework law on concessions for the utilization of hydropower during an April 22 meeting of Costa Rica’s governing council. The measure previously was approved by Costa Rica’s assembly.

The president’s office said the law ensures the participation of private enterprise in hydropower generation and provides the Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications the power to grant concessions up to 25 years. The agency also may extend concessions for another 25 years if developers comply with ministry requirements.

The new law fills a loophole created by legislation in the 1990s that transformed Costa Rica’s previous concession authority, the National Electricity Authority, into utility regulator Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Publicos (Aresep). At that time, the legislation failed to establish a new agency to continue to award hydropower concessions.

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