Uruguay’s Growing Green Energy Export Economy

National Economy

The population of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Uruguay) is approximately 3.50 million people[1]. In 2021, 100% of the people in this South American country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Uruguay’s economy was ranked 77th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy[4] is dependent on the export of frozen beef, sulfate chemical wood pulp, rice, concentrated milk, soybeans, wood, and malt.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Uruguay signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

In 2021, state-owned utility[6] National Administration of Power Plants and Electrical Transmissions (UTE) used renewable energy (75.5 %), natural gas (22.0 %), and oil (2.5 %) to generate electricity in Uruguay. Hydropower and wind are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Uruguay.

Recent renewable energy developments in Uruguay include:

  • 150 MW Biomass Power Project – Finnish company, UPM-Kymmene Oyj is continuing work of the UPM 2 Biomass Power Plant. Wood pulp waste will be used to fuel the power plant. The project is forecast to be commissioned by April 2023.
  • 100 MW Solar Project – In September 2022, state-owned utility, UTE announced plans for a utility scale project. The solar project is forecast to be commissioned in 2026.
  • Offshore Licensing Round In September 2022, Uruguayan state-owned company, ANCAP announced plansto offer between 8 to 16 blocks off the coast of Uruguay for the development of wind projects.


Uruguay imports all oil and natural gas resources for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2020, Uruguay spent[7] U.S. $728 Million just for imported crude oil.

In 2021, Uruguay generated surplus electricity due to excess onshore wind power capacity. Uruguay has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, solar, biomass, onshore wind, and hydropower.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union placing embargos on Russian exports. The international price for crude oil and natural gas has increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

The Uruguayan government has begun to accelerate the development of new renewable energy projects to stop the import of expensive fossil fuels and to increase the zero-carbon electricity exports to neighboring countries, Argentina and Brazil.

Uruguay is now developing a clean, green energy export economy.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jack kerfoot.com


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a wide range of energy topics.


[1] Uruguay Population (2022) –  October 7, 2022, www.worldometers.info

[2] The World Bank Group, Access to Electricity (% of Population) – Uruguay

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Uruguay

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Uruguay:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Uruguay Imports

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