Driving the European Agenda by national example
ANDRIS PIEBALG European Commissioner for Energy 2004-2010
I have been the European Commissioner for energy from 2004 to 2010. This was the time of formulation of first clean energy policies, decisive decisions for further development of European internal energy market and strengthening the security of supply. Dr. Manuel Pinho has been Portuguese Minister of Economy and Innovation from 2005 to 2009 and that means that he has been my counterpart in Energy Council practically during the whole mandate. I am addressing below the main decisions we have taken in the EU energy policy during that period with his support and leadership.
Today renewable energy is accepted nearly everywhere as a cost-efficient energy source. That was not the situation 10-15 years ago. EU needed to agree on renewable energy directive with binding national targets in it. Moving from 8,5% of RES share in energy supply in 2004 to 20% in 2020 was not at all easy to agree. Dr. Manuel Pinho helped a lot. He had a lot of trust that with the increased use of RES costs will substantially come down for clean electricity generation. His ambition supported by Portuguese government to have a national target of 31% of renewable energy in Portugal’s energy mix by 2020 helped immensely to convince more reluctant governments. It is not only vision that matters, action is also needed. In very short time Portugal’s installed capacity for wind powered generation increased from 1000 to 3000 MW, and installed capacity for solar increased by 20 times. Dynamic was so strong that Portugal nearly reached its target already in 2015. Dr. Manuel Pinho can be proud that his pioneering actions allow us to speak of the full decarbonisation of electricity supply in the EU in next two decades. Progress on wind and solar let us hope that we could manage to stop the global warming by 1,5 degree.
The bold step of harnessing sea energy also deserves mentioning. If you don’t try you never win.
Dr. Manuel Pinho was also instrumental in the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), that is crucial in global promotion of renewable energy.
Strategic Energy Technology Plan
Dr. Manuel Pinho believes in Europe’s potential to be the world leader in clean energy technologies. The challenge in Europe is that developments are fragmented. Responding to his initiative the European Commission proposed SET-Plan, that today is recognised as the Technology Pillar of the EU’s energy and climate policy. It follows the whole innovation chain, it mobilizes diverse actors to achieve ambitious goals, it is an instrument of more targeted and efficient spending and mobilizing resources.
Dr. Manuel Pinho could be satisfied that his initiative continues to evolve in responding to the new climate and energy policy challenges.
EU’s internal market
During Dr. Pinho’s time in office very crucial decisions have been taken in integrating EU’s gas and electricity markets. The third package was agreed with his important contribution. I well remember his permanent emphasis that energy markets should bring better prices for European households and industry. With his support the recovery package was used to strengthen Europe’s interconnectivity and to support the diversification of EU’s energy supply. Dr. Manuel Pinho always has supported European Commission in difficult negotiations in the Energy Council.
Politics is lonely business, you know that you bear full responsibility and you should be strong. Still a friendly support matters a lot. I will always keep in my memory the support from Manuel. He could be a tough negotiator, but at the same time a very good and honest friend. I was blessed in my carrier to meet him.
The world has indeed followed his action by moving away from fossil fuels to the renewables since then.
Nobuo TANAKA Former Executive Director, the International Energy Agency (2007-2011)
Dear Manuel and friends, I have known Professor Manuel Pinho for his contributions in renewable energies since the time when I served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) during 2007-2011. His country, Portugal, has become a world leader in renewable energies when Professor Pinho was responsible for the Ministry of Economy. He was one of the most active and innovative Ministers of the IEA member countries. The world has indeed followed his action by moving away from fossil fuels to the renewables since then. After he left the government, Professor Pinho taught at Columbia and Georgetown Universities in the United States. He was also a professor at Yale University in the United States and the University of Queensland in Australia, where he was awarded de Rodney Wiley distinguished fellowship. Professor Pinho visited on a regular basis China, where he had visiting positions at Peking University, Renmin University and Beijing Foreign Studies Universities. In China, he gave several lectures, including at the Ministry of Finance, Beijing University and Fudan University. He taught and stimulated thousands of young professionals for a sustainable energy future. He is certainly one of the most valuable energy professionals of the recent years! Thank you, Pinho sensei for your dedication and limitless energy for the change. I wish you best luck.
The shared experiences through similar geographies and renewable energy resources stemming from this early investment in knowledge-sharing and personal connections that Manuel spearheaded have been hugely productive in advancing the clean energy agenda in California and Portugal
Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy University of California, Berkeley Dr. Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1999. The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2005, renewable electricity in Portugal supplied only 16% of the total production of electricity, with half of that from large dams, while wind power and biomass represented 20% each and PV only a very small share (3 GWh). The renewables share in California, the 5th largest economy on the planet, provided a similar share. I first met Dr. Manuel Pinho, in 2007, who was then the Portuguese Minister of Economy and Innovation (2005–09). A that time Manuel and the Ministry had just launched what I felt was a brilliant advertising campaign: Portugal, the renewables leader on the west Coast of Europe. Like Portugal, California had recently passed, in 2006, our first comprehensive greenhouse gas law (Assembly Bill 32). Dr. Pinho and I hosted each other in academic and government dialogs. These led to a series of partnership meetings and study tours of Portugal, where students and young professionals from my program, the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California travelled to Portugal and both met with energy professionals and toured energy facilities. A number of the alumni from those exchanges have gone on to take on major energy and climate leadership positions in both of our governments. In April 2016, renewable sources provided 95% of the electricity demand in Portugal, which then broke the European record most consecutive hours running on100 percent renewable electricity energy sources. In California, we met our 2020 renewable energy target of 33% three years early, and today stand at 37% renewables (which does not count large-hydropower or nuclear energy). California is now committed to 60% of all electricity from renewables by 2030, and 100% renewables by or before 2045. The shared experiences through similar geographies and renewable energy resources stemming from this early investment in knowledge-sharing and personal connections that Manuel spearheaded have been hugely productive in advancing the clean energy agenda in California and Portugal.