Why Uruguay is the Cinderella of renewable energies

Il Paese ha raggiunto il 95 per cento di produzione di elettricità da fonti rinnovabili, in poco più di 10 anni. Ecco come c’è riuscito.

The small South American country made its dream come true. A fairy tale started 10 years ago, when Uruguay decided to invest in energy independence. Since it didn’t have fossil fuels and was dependent on importations, the government decided to invest in renewables, mostly wind energy. Now, it is one of the South American countries to use the greatest amount of renewable energies. It has been a historic climb: from 84% in 2013 to 95%.


Installation of a wind turbine © Sean Gallup/Getty Images


The government said in July at Expo: “Wind energy will represent 33% of total electricity produced in 2016, making Uruguay the country with the greatest wind exploitation for energy generation, outdoing Denmark, Spain, and Germany”.


A shift began in 2005, when the government started to invest 3% of GDP in renewables. According to The Guardian, “Energy investment – mostly for renewables, but also liquid gas – in Uruguay over the past five years has surged to 7 billion dollars, or 15% of the country’s annual GDP”, having a solid basis of hydroelectric power and investing in wind, biomass, and sun energy. Moreover, Uruguay participated in COP21 with a precise goal: cut CO2 emissions by 88% by 2017, compared to average levels of 2009-2013.


Sun, the country’s symbol ©Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr


The country, also thanks to these policies, ranked 22nd in The Global Green Economy Index, which assesses countries’ green economy. The index takes into account indicators like air quality, biodiversity and habitats, transports, investments in renewables, agriculture, and tourism.


Yes, Uruguay is populated by only 3.5 million people, but it succeeded in showing the world that through effective policies the shift from fossil fuels to renewables is possible.

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