Uruguay, a clean energy leader

Uruguay stands out in Latin America for its high living standards and social and political stability. Today it is also a world leader in renewable energies thanks to its privileged location and forward-thinking legislation.
Publication date: 10/09/2018

Did you know that Uruguay has invested more in the development of clean energies than any other country in Latin America? The nation is going through one of the its most prosperous periods ever and starting in 2010 invested over seven billion dollars in energy infrastructure. By 2017 a staggering 98% of its power came from renewable sources. Compare that to the worldwide average of 22%.


Today, Uruguay is one of the leading countries in the world in wind power production, alongside Denmark, Ireland and Germany, with more than a third of its electricity coming from wind farms.


Uruguay--the most equitable country in Latin America with the highest average incomes--never privatised its electricity industry in the 1990s. The industry continues to be nationalised and over the last fifteen years, the government has prioritised its development. That transformation was coupled with signature commitments to the environment and sustainable production.


So it was no surprise when Uruguay was recognised in 2018 as one of the top nations in wind and solar power production by REN21, a UN-backed ‘coalition of the willing’ to advance renewable energy worldwide.


An ideal location for solar, wind and hydraulic power generation--Uruguay has a gently-rolling landscape, higher than average year-round sunshine and hundreds of miles of ocean and river coastline--stacked the cards in the nation’s favour. In addition Uruguay has great opportunities for generating energy from biomass produced by the agro industry.


Using forward-thinking legislation and incentives schemes, Uruguay is also efficient at attracting good business within the sector. A freedom of energy generation policy has encouraged significant investment from the private sector, and the government invests 3% of GDP in energy infrastructure.

Uruguay is at the vanguard of energy policy in Latin America and the world and its successful model has been emulated by a number of other countries.

The keys to achieving these milestones have been the country’s natural conditions, political will and public-private investment. Uruguay ranks fifth in the world in renewable energies investment as a percentage of GDP, according to REN 21 (2016).