Uruguay, the small South American country, which till date has been known mostly because its human population is outnumbered by its cattle herd, could soon be adorned with an environmentally friendly cap as the country is aiming to produce 90 percent of its electricity consumption by means of renewable sources. The president of the UTE state electric company and the national energy director has recently announced that the electricity company has signed contracts to buy electricity from 20 private wind farms that are still to be constructed.
Out of the total 90 percent of renewable electricity, 45 percent will come from hydropower, 15 percent from biomass and the remaining 30 percent will come from wind. The figures would put Uruguay above Denmark, which generates 26 percent of its electricity from wind, as the world leader in wind energy generation.
While the plans sound green all the way, getting there might be a stiff ask. Currently Uruguay is getting just 50MW of wind generated electricity, which has to go up to 1000MW by 2015 to reach the goal. The additional 950MW of green power will need the installation of hundreds of wind turbines, which in a small timeframe will be a herculean task.
However, if the country remains on its tight schedule, it will not only reduce the carbon emissions associated with conventional energy, but will also be able to source electricity at an affordable price. Currently, when the country’s hydropower plants die down during dry periods, it has to purchase electricity from Argentina by paying up to $400 for every megawatt hour of electricity. However, Smart Planet states that the wind power plants will bring that rate down to just $64 per megawatt hour, which is less than the average electricity generation cost of $90/MWh in Uruguay.