Uruguay: Assuring Energy Security Through the Implementation of Sustainable Sources

If you want to talk about a country who is making the things right in Latin America, Uruguay must be on your radar. Topping most of the human development rankings in the region and a progressive government with no signs of stopping, Uruguay is an example for all developing nations. In the line of doing things right, today, Uruguay is the second country with the most penetration of VRE, just topped by Denmark and above Germany. The incredible thing about this quite impressive ranking is that by 2005 Uruguay did not count with an energy plan, but with a lack of oil reserves of their own and a crisis in their leading supplier meant things had to change, and the renewables are what this country is betting on to assure energy security and independence for the future.

First of all, the demand for energy in Uruguay has been rising since the beginning of the century, because of a considerable reduction in poverty and an increase in employment and salary. Is estimated that since 2005 the total national consumption it’s been duplicated. This increase in the demand came with a considerable time of instability for Uruguay’s leading supplier, Argentina; this disruption pushed the government to create a plan to assure Uruguay’s energy, and turn from an importer to an exporter. The project included the development of sustainable energy without subsidies, a project for energy saving, implementation of biofuels and exploration for oil and gas.

With this policy changes, in a short amount of time, Uruguay has dropped the use of fossil fuels to the generation of energy to a shocking 2%. In this process of achieving sustainability, mainly through hydropower, Uruguay was able to turn their position from an importer to an exporter. And with Argentina and Brazil as neighbors, but not being entirely dependent on them, Uruguay is one step closer to achieve energy security sustainably.

Despite some people saying that Uruguay has the advantages of geography, which is true, the change in their energy policy, from none to one of the most sustainable countries in the world would have not being possible without the willingness to take advantage of these resources. This developing country is a clear example that when a policy is designed and implemented with a real change in mind, this change can be achieved.

Maria Alejandra Cáceres Merino

Aguirregaray, Pablo. “Presente Y Futuro De Las Energías Renovables En Uruguay.” Hacia Una Estrategia Nacional De Desarrollo, Uruguay 20250 X (March 2019): 5-69. https://www.opp.gub.uy/sites/default/files/inline-files/12_ Presente y futuro de las Energías Renovables en Uruguay.pdf.

CMS Medios. “Uruguay Se Destaca Como Líder En Energía Renovable Entre Emergentes.” El Cronista. April 09, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2019. https://www.cronista.com/financialtimes/Uruguay-se-destaca-como-lider-en-energia-renovable-entre-emergentes-20180409-0016.html.


El Pais. “Uruguay Lidera En El Mundo El Proceso De “energía Verde”.” Diario EL PAIS Uruguay. June 04, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2019. https://negocios.elpais.com.uy/noticias/uruguay-lidera-mundo-proceso-energia-verde.html.


Photo by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

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