General Investment Regime
Investment Law 16.906 declares the national interest of the promotion and protection of domestic and foreign investment and, through Decree 2/012, establishes the following benefits for the investments carried out in the country:
Particular Investment Regime for renewable energy
Within the frame of Law 16.906, Decree 354/009 establishes particular benefits for the generation of electricity from non-traditional renewable sources (defined as the native renewable sources such as wind, solar thermal, solar PV, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, as well as the energy produced from the use of different types of biomass).
The main benefit consists of CIT exemptions equivalent to:
In 2009, Law 18.585 declared of national interest the investigation, fabrication, implementation and development of solar thermal energy. The law, along with Decree 451/011, established the exemption of VAT, Internal Excise Tax (IMESI), duties and custom taxes applicable to:
In 2012, the Government launched a Solar Program focused on developing solar thermal energy for residential users. The new program provides loans, financial discounts and payment facilities for those who install solar thermal technology in their houses.
Law 18.585 also introduced the obligation of incorporating solar thermal technology in sport clubs, hospitals, hotels and heated swimming-pools, under certain circumstances. According to this law, at least 50 percent of the energy required to heat the water should come from solar thermal energy. If this requirement is not fulfilled, the permit for the construction works is denied.
New public buildings (that is, state owned) are also obliged to incorporate this source of energy.
As from June 2012, the Ministry of Industry is entitled to request for all new industrial and agro-industrial developments to perform a technical study on the feasibility of incorporating solar thermal technology into the project.
Uruguay is recognized as a country with excellent conditions for the development of renewable energy, attracting the attention of national and international investors. The government with the support of the opposition parties has set forth the goal of becoming a model country in this area. The authorities intend that, by this year, at least 50 percent of the primary energy matrix of the country will come from renewable sources.
Although the focus is placed on all types of renewable energy, the most popular continues to be wind power. The initial goal of reaching 300 MW of wind generation by 2015 has been passed with flying colors, since the country is already generating more than 500 MW. A new goal of 1,400 MW has been set for 2017, assuming all the awarded wind farm projects will be implemented. By that year, the Investment in this area will probably reach USD2.6 billion.
In 2010 the government set the goal of incorporating 200 MW from biomass sources to the primary energy matrix by 2015. Accordingly, the Uruguayan energy utility (Usinas y Trasmisiones Eléctricas or UTE) promoted one tender during 2011, in which the total amount offered by the private companies exceeded 350 MW. However, not all the projects offered are currently coming to life and, in virtue of this, a new tender call for biomass projects is expected to be launched during 2015.
Uruguay has several natural resources that can be used as primary elements for the generation of biomass energy:
In May 2013 the Government launched a tender call for the purchase of solar PV energy. The tender considers projects of three different ranges: i) 500 kW to 1 MW, ii) 1 MW to 5 MW, and iii) 5 MW to 50 MW.
For ranges i) and ii), the bidders had to offer a price and the total amount to be awarded could not exceed 6 MW. On the other hand, for range iii), bidders had to adhere to a pre-established price of USD91.5/MWh, and the total amount to be awarded could not exceed 200 MW.
The companies that participated in the referred tender call proposed projects for a total amount of 166 MW. Some of these projects are already generating 50 MW and others are still under construction. New tender calls are expected to be launched within the next few years.