IRENA Innovation Day in Uruguay

16 – 17 July 2019 |Montevideo, Uruguay


IRENA Innovation Days: Solutions for a renewable-powered future

IRENA’s Innovation Days take place in different regions around the world and aim to connect innovators and policy makers. This series of events aims to showcase emerging innovations and inform and inspire broader and faster uptake of innovative solutions that can help deliver a renewable-powered future. Innovation Days build on IRENA’s biennial Innovation Week events but focus on the particular needs and experiences of groups of countries. To date IRENA Innovation Days have been held in Thailand in September 2019 and Turkey in November 2019, with new editions coming up in 2020 together including IRENA Innovation Week in September 2020. 

IRENA Innovation Day: Uruguay, 16th July 2019

The first Innovation Day took place on 16 July 2019 in Montevideo and focused on Uruguay and Latin American countries but was open to attendees from all IRENA countries. The event was organised in partnerships with the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining of Uruguay.

The event brought together a diverse mix of policy makers and innovative companies from Uruguay, Latin American countries, as well as from further afield, and offered local country representatives and companies the opportunity to showcase successes, highlight challenges, learn from each other’s experience and explore how innovative solutions can help meet national energy system’s needs. For countries and companies from further afield, this event provided the opportunity to meet key local actors, to showcase work and to learn from the experience of countries in the region.

Discussions drew on the experiences of local, regional and international governments and innovative companies as well as on the global insights captured in IRENA’s 2019 report Innovation landscape for a renewable-powered future.

The event was opened by Ms Olga Otegui, the Interim Minister of Industry, Energy, and Mining of Uruguay who emphasized a need for innovation across the whole region. The speakers from IRENA, OLADE, and Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining of Uruguay shared three perspectives – global, regional and national - on successes, ambitions, and challenges for renewable power and the impacts of innovation on their national energy systems. The keynote speeches emphasized that innovations in the power sector will continue playing a crucial role and a systemic approach to innovations will be key to deliver impactful solutions.

Session 1: Solutions for smart and flexible grid
Presentations and discussions explored innovative solutions for smart grids to provide higher levels of flexibility and to help effectively integrate renewable energy in power systems. Changing roles of energy actors and emerging challenges and opportunities in operating innovative smart grids were central to the discussions.

Session 2: Solutions for energy storage
Presentations and discussions examined the innovative use and integration of large- and small-scale energy storage solutions, e.g. flexible hydro, utility scale and behind the meter batteries, pump hydro storage and other energy storage options.

Session 3: Solutions for renewable-powered end-use sectors (transport, buildings, and industry)
Presentations and discussions explored how the electrification of end-use sectors with renewable electricity helps to decarbonise transport, buildings (heating and cooling), and industry while becoming a flexibility source to integrate more renewables into power systems, including the potential role of power-to-hydrogen.


Session 4: Solutions for engaged consumers

Presentations and discussions delved into the digitalisation-enabled business models to manage demand and provide flexibility, including blockchain and artificial intelligence-enabled solutions such as distributed generation or demand-side management.

For further information on speakers and highlights from the discussions, please consult a summary report above, while presentation slides can be accessed here and pictures here.