Transforming Their Entire Nation’s Energy Grid In Less Than 10 Years
- They have made bold pledges to continue to reform their transport sector
How soon can the world run completely on renewable energy? A lot of us are comfortable with oil for now, but it’s inevitable that we’ll run out eventually, and a lot of the “younger” developing nations are A LOT better set to wean themselves off from oil than the old guard.
Uruguay is proving it can be done, having completely reformed their energy sector in the last decade, to the point that they now get 94.5% of their energy from renewable resource.
And this has already been a boon to their economy, as they’ve begun being able to EXPORT energy, whereas previously they had to import from Argentina to keep up with demand.
Do you think Uruguay’s success with renewable energy mean good things for the future of such technologies in other countries? Read more details below the break!
At the climate summit in Paris, the South American nation of Uruguay has announced that it gets an enviable 94.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. And they’ve done it without government subsidies or raising the price for consumers.
In fact, electricity prices are now cheaper than they’ve ever been for the 3.4 million people living in Uruguay, which eliminates one of the main excuses people have for not being able to transition away from fossil fuels: it costs too much. Uruguay has made the transition without any crazy new technology or radical investment.
In fact, national director of energy, Ramón Méndez, told the climate summit delegates that the formula is incredibly replicable. “What we’ve learned is that renewables is just a financial business,” said Méndez. “The construction and maintenance costs are low, so as long as you give investors a secure environment, it is a very attractive.”
While 95 percent of Uruguay’s electricity comes from renewable sources, that’s not the only sector in the country that uses energy. The transport sector, for example, is still reliant on oil. So when you look at the energy use of the country as a whole, adding the transport sector into the mix, renewables only provide 55 percent, with oil still makes up the other 45 percent.
However, that’s still pretty impressive when you consider that if you look at the worldwide total energy breakdown, only 12 percent comes from renewables on average.
Uruguay is now hoping to make changes in its transport sector too, and it’s moving quickly once again. As part of the climate summit, Méndez pledged to cut Uruguay’s carbon emissions by 88 percent in the next two years compared to 2009 to 13 – it’s one of the most ambitious nation pledges so far, and proves that Uruguay is serious about reducing its impact on the planet.
But despite all the environmental perks, the bottom line is that transitioning to renewable energy sources makes financial sense for countries, and it’s safe to say that Uruguay is now killing it.
“For three years we haven’t imported a single kilowatt hour,” said Méndez. “We used to be reliant on electricity imports from Argentina, but now we export to them. Last summer, we sold a third of our power generation to them.”
Source: Science Alert