World leadership

 

Portugal is seen as a world leader in renewable energies, that is confirmed by the testimonies of Tanaka- san, Commissioner Piebalgs and Professor Kamen, countless press articles, papers and reports.

Is there anything special?

  • Timing: The program has been launched in 2005- 2007 when renewable energies were not as popular as they are today.By then, Portugal was a net importer of electricity, which created a problem of security. What technologies should be favored? Nuclear? Coal? This would have been a tremendous mistake. Natural gas? The government awarded a large number of production permits and left to producers the decision to invest. Solar? Germany and Spain were strongly supporting investment in solar PV, however it was very expensive. Therefore, the choice was obvious: hydro and wind.
  • Support: Wind production was supported by feed in tariffs, in the same way as in other countries, China, etc. However, the prive level of feed in tariffs was the result of auctions, instead of being decided by bureaucrats. The price of feed in tariffs was actually the lowest, or among the lowest, in Europe.
  • Size: Government attracted big international players by auctioning more than 1 megawatt.
  • Jobs: Government attracted job-rich renewable energies industrial projects. The largest one is the ENERCOM power plant in Viana do Castelo. Wind turbine manufactured in Portugal are exported to other European countries. RENAULT- NISSAN agreed to build a large car battery factory in Portugal, however the project has been abandoned by the next government.

The political establishment from left to right is ambiguous, to say the least, toward renewable energies. Domestically, they are considered a monster, the main cause of high electricity prices, a source of “excessive rents”, etc. Abroad, they praise the country’s leadership.

 

 

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