Ramón Méndez Galain was Uruguay’s National Director of Energy from 2008 to 2015. His plan for the energy sector led to 98% of Uruguay’s grid being powered by green energy. And a good deal of that comes from wind energy — from turbines like those behind him.
Credit: Amanda Aronczyk / NPR

Back in 2007, Uruguay had a massive problem with no obvious fix. The economy of this country of 3.5 million people was growing, but there wasn’t enough energy to power all that growth. There was energy rationing, and people’s power bills kept going up.

“It was difficult for us to cope,” Ramón Méndez Galain remembers. “It was difficult to get electricity. For some time, we were beginning to have blackouts.”

Méndez Galain had trained as a particle physicist. “When you are trained as a scientist,” he says, “you are trained to see an unsolved problem, and [to try] to find an explanation and a solution. So I used, if you wish, my scientific skills I had developed in order to face this difficulty with the same strategy.”

He […]

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