Uruguay: Green leader worldwide

Uruguay has embraced renewable energy for economic reasons and ranks in the world's top twenty green leaders, according to MIT.
By Karen A Higgs
Last updated on April 16, 2021

Uruguay has embraced renewable energy for economic reasons and has been named one of the top twenty “green leaders” in an MIT study.

Green innovation to cut costs

Just twenty years ago, Uruguay was heavily dependent on other nations including neighbour Argentina for oil—which accounted for almost 30% of its imports. However between 2010 and 2016, Uruguay invested US$ 7.8 billion in energy infrastructure, and by 2019 renewable energy provided the country with nearly 97% of its electricity.

The rapid diversification of Uruguay’s electricity sector began a decade ago as the government saw renewables, especially wind energy, as a way to cut electricity generation costs. Rebecca Bertram writing for Energy Transition.org, attributes the success to transparent decision-making, a supportive regulatory environment and the strong partnership between the public and private sector.

Nowadays Uruguay is exporting its excess energy abroad. And Uruguay had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by an impressive 88 percent by 2017 against the 2009-2013 average.

The perfect geography for alternative energy generation

As a country of gently-rolling countryside, stable wind conditions of about eight miles per hour and hundreds of miles of ocean and river coastline Uruguay is an ideal location for solar, wind and hydro power generation.

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

Uruguay, Canada and Costa Rica – the sole green leaders in the Americas

Now Uruguay has been named one of the top twenty “green leaders” in the world according to the Green Future Index 2021 by MIT.

The Green Future Index is a research program by MIT Technology Review Insights. It measures the degree to which 76 countries are pivoting towards a green future by reducing their carbon emissions, moving to energy transition, green society, clean innovation and climate policy.

Uruguay is ranked 20th. It is one of only three countries—the other two are Costa Rica and Canada– in the top 20 from the Americas. Fifteen other leaders are from Europe.

Uruguay was ranked 10th in energy transition. A high score means that renewable energy is grown quickly and contributes a higher share of the overall energy mix. Uruguay also ranked 10th in the clean innovation pillar.

Cover photo: Eolic energy windmills at countryside landscape in Maldonado outskirts, Uruguay.




2 Responses

    1. Thanks for pointing out that the article got tweeted by EarthAccounting, Alberto! Appreciated! — Karen

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