Uruguay’s green power revolution: rapid shift to wind shows the world how it’s done: Stung by 2008’s oil price spike, Uruguay now produces up to 98% of its electricity from renewables. Can other countries follow suit? (Sam Meadows, 27 Dec 2023, The Guardian)

It was the 2000s, and fossil fuel prices were rising worldwide. After a period of volatility in the 1980s, the crude oil price per barrel had reached one of its lowest points – $20 – at the end of 2001 but then, over the course of six years, it tripled before a new oil shock saw prices surpass those of the 1970s, reaching a record $145 a barrel on 3 July 2008.

Uruguay imports its oil, so it had a problem. Demand for energy in the country had grown by 8.4% the previous year and household energy bills were increasing at a similar rate. The 3.4 million-strong population was becoming restless. Lacking alternatives, President Tabaré Vázquez was forced to buy energy from neighbouring states at higher prices, even though Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay had a mutual aid agreement in case of emergency conditions.

To escape the trap, Vázquez needed rapid solutions. He turned to an unlikely source: Ramón Méndez Galain, a physicist who would transform the country’s energy grid into one of the cleanest in the world.

Today, the country has almost phased out fossil fuels in electricity production. Depending on the weather, anything between 90% and 95% of its power comes from renewables. In some years, that number has crept as high as 98%.

Tax the externalities of oil and we’re transitioned by 2030.