MONTEVIDEO – Ninety-eight percent of Uruguay’s electricity so far this year has come from sources of renewable energy, the president of the state-run electric company UTE said Tuesday.
Gonzalo Casaravilla made the announcement during a meeting of business owners, executives and investors in the energy sector that was held at the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation in Montevideo.
Uruguay, he said, “has made a very good investment” with the installation of hydroelectric dams that represent 50 percent of the current supply, added to which are sources of wind and solar energy, which contribute another 40 percent, with an additional 8 percent from biomass.
“This year in particular, since it has been a year with a good contribution from the dams, we now have a year-to-date average of around 98 percent of Uruguay’s power supply provided by renewables. Though we have also been running plants fired by fossil fuels, they have basically been used to export energy to the region, so we’re doing really well this year,” he said.
Changing the source of Uruguay’s electricity supply has taken an investment of some $3 billion in wind energy and another $500 million in solar, as well as some $15 million in microgeneration systems, Casaravilla said.
“We can also say we have made biomass a part of the renewable energy operation, making good use of waste from rice crops, sawmills and wood processing plants, and also from cellulose plants, which all pass along their residues to the electric grid,” he said.
“And there you have all the sources of renewable energy, with the latter biomass part representing a further investment in the electricity sector of around $400 million associated with the energy generating plants,” Casaravilla said.