As the world awaits news from Paris about the next international climate deal, some smaller nations are taking big steps toward a future filled with clean and renewable energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming. Last week, Uruguay reported huge gains in clean energy infrastructure that directly translated into cost savings. In less than 10 years, the developing country has reduced its environmental impact and energy costs simultaneously by implementing enough clean energy infrastructure to get 94.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

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Uruguay’s national director of energy, Ramón Méndez, shared the good news in a statement issued as leaders from around the world meet to develop a global strategy for fighting climate change. Just 15 years ago, Uruguay was heavily invested in oil imports. Now, clean energy has brought costs down and helped make the energy supply more reliable, translating into greater resilience to droughts.

Related: Can a small district in Uganda pressure the world to invest in renewable energy?

Even the renewable sources of energy in Uruguay are diverse, providing even more stability. Wind turbines are the fastest growing segment, while biomass and solar power have also recently been ramped up. Those energy production methods, combined with existing hydropower, mean that renewables now make up 55 percent of the country’s overall energy usage (which includes transportation fuel). Compared to a global average share of just 12 percent, the figures out of Uruguay are quite impressive – and inspiring.

That’s what the country’s leaders hope, at any rate. Can the success in Uruguay, realized in a very short period of time, help convince leaders of larger nations that radical change is not only possible, but can benefit the economy and the environment at the same time? Only Paris knows for sure.

Via The Guardian

Images via Nico Pereira/Flickr and Shutterstock