Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Hydropower Country Notes
Hydropower is Uruguay's only indigenous source of commercial primary energy, but even this is on a relatively limited scale. According to Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2006, the technically exploitable potential is 10 TWh/yr, within a gross theoretical potential of 32 TWh, none of which is regarded as economically feasible for development at present.
During the 1980s almost all of Uruguay's incremental generating capacity was in the form of hydropower, notably through the commissioning of the bi-national Salto Grande (1 890 MW) plant on the river Uruguay; the republic shares its output with Argentina. No hydro plants are reported to be presently under construction or planned: future increases in generating capacity are likely to be largely fuelled by natural gas.
The Government passed a decree in March 2006 which, as a first stage, attempts to encourage the installation of up to 20 MW of electricity generation based on small-scale hydropower (under 10 MW) provided by IPPs. The Uruguayan WEC Member Committee estimates that taking into account schemes of less than 5 MW (totalling 203 MW) and a theoretical capacity factor of 0.5, the technically exploitable capability would be 889 GWh/yr.