Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Uruguay Powers Nearly 100% of Electricity From Renewables

Climate
Uruguay Powers Nearly 100% of Electricity From Renewables

Uruguay has made some impressive strides in the last decade on the environmental front. The South American country of 3.4 million has drastically reduced its carbon footprint in less than 10 years "without government subsidies or higher consumer costs," the country's National Director of Energy Ramón Méndez told The Guardian.

Through energy efficiency measures and a vast expansion in renewables, the country has truly set itself apart. According to Méndez, renewables provide 94.5 percent of the nation's electricity, and wind, solar, biomass and hydropower now comprise 55 percent of the country's overall energy mix (including transport fuel).

The transportation sector remains a challenge for the country in switching completely to renewables. To address this, the capital city Montevideo is looking into buying autonomous electric cars for its fleet of municipal vehicles.

“What we’ve learned is that renewables is just a financial business,” Méndez says. “The construction and maintenance costs are low, so as long as you give investors a secure environment, it is a very attractive.”

Though the country only generates 0.06 percent of global emissions, Uruguay hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030. Méndez is in Paris at COP21 offering one of the world's most ambitious climate pledges: "88 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2017 compared with the average for 2009-13," according to The Guardian.

The country has no nuclear power and has not built a new hydropower project in more than two decades. That sets it apart from other small countries with high proportions of renewable energy (think: Paraguay, Bhutan and Lesotho), which are largely dependent on hydropower. Gary Wockner of Save the Colorado argues that hydropower is actually "one of the biggest environmental problems our planet faces" and a "false solution" for addressing climate change.

While not every country has Uruguay's small population and favorable natural resources, Uruguay has proven "renewables can reduce generation costs, can meet well over 90 percent of electricity demand without the back-up of coal or nuclear power plants, and the public and private sectors can work together effectively in this field," said Méndez. Other Paris delegates should take note.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Solar Powered ‘Farm from a Box’: Everything You Need to Run an Off-Grid Farm

Couple Builds Greenhouse Around Home to Grow Food and Keep Warm

100% Clean Energy is 100% Possible

Morocco’s Giant Solar Plant to Bring Energy to 1 Million People

Sun Cable hopes to start construction of the world's largest solar farm in 2023. Sun Cable
A large expanse of Australia's deserted Outback will house the world's largest solar farm and generate enough energy to export power to Singapore, as The Guardian reported.
Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Construction on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric station in 2015. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
A new study has revealed that Earth's biggest mass extinction was triggered by volcanic activity that led to ocean acidification. Illustration by Dawid Adam Iurino (PaleoFactory, Sapienza University of Rome) for Jurikova et al (2020)

The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.

Read More Show Less
Coronavirus-sniffing dogs Miina and Kössi (R) are seen in Vantaa, Finland on September 2, 2020. Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva / AFP/ Getty Images

By Teri Schultz

Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.

Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch