GSEP, Hydro-Québec and Enel X inaugurates first storage system integrated to Uruguay’s national power grid

March 15, 2022
  • Uruguay’s first distributed energy resources (DER) system with storage integrated to the national grid is now in operation, a key step to driving the transition towards affordable, low-carbon electricity in the country.
  • A replicability study using the system’s real data will be handed over after one of operation year and can be used by local stakeholders to replicate this system in other parts of the country.
  • This project has numerous advantages for the beneficiary farmers, including the potential for greater profitability through energy savings of up to 90% of their annual energy consumption and a reduction of up to 70% of their energy bills.

The first distributed energy resources (DER) system integrated to Uruguay's national electricity grid using battery energy storage was inaugurated in Colonia Delta, department of San José, Uruguay. Developed by the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) and its members Hydro-Québec and Enel X, the system provides UTE – the national power company – and local stakeholders with a first hands-on experience on integrating storage to the electric grid, which is a key enabler to further advance low-carbon electrification.

The project has two photovoltaic installations on typical dairy farms in Colonia Delta of 15kW and 20kW and one installation benefiting the Cooperative Agraria Limitada Delta of 25kW, all connected to the national grid. The 20kW solar system also features a lithium battery storage system and remote monitoring system that allows the farm to be independent of the grid at peak times. A replicability study using real system data will be handed over at the end of the first year of operation and can be used by local stakeholders to replicate this system elsewhere in the country.

Integrating DER systems to the electricity grid results in numerous advantages leading to a clean energy future: improvement of resilience and energy security, avoided infrastructure investments, and possibility of increasing the integration of renewable energy sources.

The integration of advanced electrification technologies also creates energy savings for Uruguay's agricultural sector that can translate into increased profitability. For the farmers in our Uruguay project, further electrifying their dairy operations reduces their annual energy consumption by up to 90% and lowers their energy bills by up to 70%.

This project sets a model for collaboration between all stakeholders in the energy sector, which is essential to advance electrification and the energy transition. The success of the project is due to the close collaboration between GSEP, Enel X and Hydro-Québec, and local stakeholders such as Colonia Delta (main beneficiary), the Intendencia of San José and the national power company UTE.

Deploying sustainable innovative technologies has been part of GSEP's mission for the last 30 years. As the world races towards net-zero, such advanced electrification technologies are essential to unlock the benefits of clean and affordable energy for our communities.

"The energy system is going through a fundamental transition and this requires innovative and cooperative approaches. Pilot projects like this one help demystify advanced technologies and demonstrate how to adapt them to local realities and give us models of cooperation that help communities take better advantage of their benefits. We sincerely hope that this project will continue to open doors to further deployment of innovative and sustainable technologies in support of Uruguay's climate and energy goals."

- Vincent-Michel Duval, Executive Director, GSEP

"Over the past few years, Hydro-Québec has developed many distributed energy resource system integration projects, such as the integration of solar generation and battery energy storage systems like the one we are inaugurating here today, with the goal of better understanding the impact of these systems on the electricity grid and its customers. Today, we are proud to have been able to share our experience and expertise with the beneficiaries and all the stakeholders of the project in Uruguay."

-David-Olivier Goulet, Project Engineer - Grid Modernization, Hydro-Québec

"Enel X is committed to the development of advanced and innovative technologies that enable countries like Uruguay to better meet the challenges imposed by an energy transition. With this project we are planting a seed for a cleaner, more sustainable, and secure future for all Uruguayans."

-Jorge Cernadas, General Manager, Enel X Uruguay

"This project provides us with a first practical experience on the integration of distributed energy resources into the national grid and demonstrates the benefits of these technologies for our cattle farmers in San José. Supporting the deployment of projects of this type helps us to boost the productive development of the department."

-Ana Bentaberri, Intendent of San José, Uruguay