Energy profile: Uruguay

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This page is part of Global Energy Monitor's Latin America Energy Portal.
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Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)

As of 2019, renewables accounted for 75.8% of Uruguay's electrical capacity, while non-renewable sources made up the remaining 24.2% (down from 29% in 2016).[1][2] In terms of actual power generation, 98.1% of Uruguay's electrical grid was powered by renewable energy in 2019, with hydro (50.4%), wind (29.5%), biomass (15.5%), and solar (2.6%) being the key sources.[1][3]

Greenhouse gas emissions targets

The Uruguayan government states they are focused on reducing emissions from the energy sector so as not to disrupt the agricultural systems which make up 76% of their emissions and 70% of national exports.[4] As of 2017, Uruguay had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 88% compared to the 2009-2013 period average.[5] Uruguay aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.[6]

Source: Worldometers

Government energy agencies & other key players

National energy ministry

MIEM (Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Minería) is responsible for formulation and promotion of industrial, energy and mining policies of Uruguay.

Permitting agencies

DINAMA (Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente) issues permits for any project that would be potentially disruptive to the environment.

Regulatory agencies

URSEA (Unidad Reguladora de Servicios de Energía y Agua) is responsible for the regulation of the electrical and water sector.

Electric utilities

UTE (Administración Nacional de Usinas y Trasmisiones Eléctricas) is responsible for the electrical grid of Uruguay including generation, transmission, distribution, commercialization, and technical assistance.

National oil company

ANCAP (Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland) is the state-owned company responsible for importing, refining and distributing petroleum products.

Energy sector employment data

As of November 2018, the renewable energy sector employed more than 11,000 workers in Uruguay.[7]

Electricity usage

Installed capacity

As of 2016, Uruguay had 4.808 million kW of installed electrical generating capacity.[2]


In 2016, Uruguay produced 13.13 billion kWh of electricity.[2]


As of 2020, 100% of the population has access to electricity.[2] The UTE is spending $960 million between 2020-2025 for installing new electrical transmission infrastructure.[8]


In 2016, Uruguay consumed 10.77 billion kWh of electricity.[2]

Coal in Uruguay

Uruguay does not produce, consume, or import coal.[9]

Oil & Natural Gas in Uruguay

Domestic Production

Uruguay does not produce crude oil and the county has no proven reserves.[2] Uruguay produced 42,220 barrels per day of refined petroleum products in 2015.[2] Uruguay does not produce natural gas and has no proven reserves.

Total energy supply by source 1990-2018, Source: IEA


In 2016, Uruguay was consuming 53,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products.[2] In 2017, Uruguay consumed 70.79 million cu m of natural gas.[2]

Imports & source countries

In 2015, Uruguay imported 40,200 barrels per day of crude oil.[2] Uruguay imports all of the natural gas that it uses.[2] Uruguay primarily imports natural gas from Argentina via the Gasoducto Cruz del Sur.

Proposed new sources & projects

As of May 2021, there are no new projects proposed for oil and gas in Uruguay.


Gas is transported into Uruguay from Argentina via the Gasoducto Cruz del Sur.

Renewable Energy in Uruguay

Uruguay's rates of electricity generation from renewables (98%) and wind power (26%) are among the highest in the world.[10] Since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, Uruguay has grown aggregate renewable energy by 93%.[11] In 2006, Uruguay became one of the first countries in Latin America to hold national energy auctions focused on the commissioning of renewable energy projects.[10] Following a period of stagnation around 2007, the renewable energy sector began to rise in prevalence again around 2010 with an emphasis on wind and hydroelectricity.[6] As Uruguay has embraced renewable energy, the country has moved away from a dependency on energy imports from neighboring Argentina. As of 2020, Uruguay ranked fourth globally in use of wind and solar energy.[5] The diversification of the renewable energy sector has been very beneficial for Uruguay to lower costs of electricity and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[5]

Iron & Steel in Uruguay

Uruguay primarily imports iron and steel from Brazil.[12] Following estimates by the British mining company, Zamin Ferrous, of 2.5 billion tons of iron reserves in Uruguay the country has undergone legal battles and environmental protests against the negative effects of open pit mining.[13] As of 2020, the Uruguayan court system continues to hear cases by iron ore mining investors seeking to tap into Uruguay's reserves.[14]

Environmental & social impacts of energy in Uruguay

The diversification of Uruguay's renewable energy sector has allowed the country to first use wind and solar energy to preserve water in the dams to better mitigate droughts.[5] Protests against iron ore mining are likely to be an important environmental and social issue for Uruguay throughout the 2020s.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Panorama energético de América Latina y el Caribe 2020 (p 74)". OLADE. November 2020.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 "Uruguay - The World Factbook". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  3. Energy Web (2020-07-22). "Uruguay's grid operator, UTE, partners with Energy Web on blockchain-based innovation". Medium. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  4. "Intended Nationally Determined Contribution: Uruguay" (PDF). UNFCC. 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Uruguay, Latin America's Renewable Champion | Energy Transition". Energy Transition. 2020-01-27. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Why Uruguay's Unprecedented Shift to Clean Energy Is a Model for the World". Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  7. "What's next for the energy transition in Uruguay? | Energy Transition". Energy Transition. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  8. "BNamericas - Uruguay's UTE to invest almost US$1bn by 2025". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  9. "Uruguay Coal Reserves and Consumption Statistics - Worldometer". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "¿Pueden las renovables llevar a una recuperación verde de América Latina?". Dialogo Chino. October 2, 2020.
  11. "Why Uruguay's Unprecedented Shift to Clean Energy Is a Model for the World". Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  12. "Uruguay Iron or Steel Imports". World Integrated Trade Solution. 2019.
  13. "Environmentalists in Uruguay Fight New Open-Pit Mining Law". Earth Island Journal. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  14. "Uruguay defeats multibillion-dollar mining claim". Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  15. "Uruguay Secures Win Over $4B Mining Project Claim - Law360". Retrieved 2021-05-21.