Renewable energy in Portugal

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Renewable energy in Portugal was the source for 25.7% of energy consumption in 2013. [1] In 2014, 63% of Portugal's electricity needs were supplied by renewable sources. [2]

In 2001, the Portuguese government launched a new energy policy instrument – the E4 Programme (Energy Efficiency and Endogenous Energies), consisting of a set of multiple, diversified measures aimed at promoting a consistent, integrated approach to energy supply and demand. By promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy (endogenous) sources, the programme sought to upgrade the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy and to modernize the country’s social fabric, while preserving the environment by reducing gas emissions, especially the carbon dioxide responsible for climate change.[3]

While from 2002-2007 the main priorities were focused on the introduction of natural gas (aiming at progressively replacing oil and coal in the energy balance) and liberalization of the energy market (by opening this former state-owned sector to competition and private investment), the emphasis shifted for the next 5 years was on energy efficiency (supply and demand sides) and use of endogenous (renewable) energy.[3]

Hydro power[edit]

Alto Lindoso dam, serving the largest hydroelectric power station in the country

The largest hydroelectric power station is at the Alto Lindoso dam, with a capacity of 630 MW. Portugal has about 100 small hydro systems, with a capacity of 256 MW, which produce 815 GWh/year.[4]

Wind power[edit]

From March 2007 to December 2010, wind power nameplate capacity grew from 1,874 to 3,937 MW in (excluding Madeira and Azores) Portugal. The major wind turbine manufacturers in the Portuguese market are Enercon, Vestas and Gamesa.[5]

The 240 MW Alto Minho Wind Farm in the Viana do Castelo district became fully operational in November, 2008.[6] At the time of completion it was Europe's largest on-shore wind farm.[7]

Other major wind farms which are operating, or under construction, include: Arada-Montemuro Wind Farm (112 MW), Gardunha Wind Farm (106 MW), Pinhal Interior Wind Farm (144 MW) and Ventominho Wind Farm (240 MW).

Portugal combines wind and hydropower by using nighttime winds to pump water uphill and sending the water back through generators to produce power the next day.[8]

Solar power[edit]

Serpa solar power plant

A large photovoltaic power project, the Serpa solar power plant, was completed in Portugal, one of Europe's sunniest areas.[9] The 11 megawatt plant covered 150 acres (0.61 km2) and employs 52,000 PV panels. The panels are raised 2 metres off the ground allowing grazing to continue. The plant provides enough energy for 8,000 homes and saves an estimated 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.[10][11]

Not far from there, Moura Photovoltaic Power Station is under construction. With more than 376,000 solar modules, it will have an installed capacity of 62MWp when finished. The first stage of construction is scheduled for completion in 2008. A solar panel factory is also being built in the city of Moura, where there are plans to build a research lab.[citation needed]

Geothermal power[edit]

Portugal's main investment for the use of this type of energy is in the Azores. Small scale use of this energy source began in the 1980s in Chaves and S. Pedro do Sul, Continental Portugal providing 3 MWt.

In the Azores the use of Geothermal energy is widespread, with production in 8 of the 9 Islands, collectively producing some 235.5 MWt. In 2003, 25% of the electricity consumed in São Miguel was produced by geothermal energy.[1]

Wave power[edit]

1 of 3 Pelamis machines at the Aguçadoura Wave Park

Aguçadoura Wave Farm was the world's first commercial wave farm when opened on the 23 September 2008. It is located three miles (5 km) offshore near Póvoa de Varzim north of Porto. The farm uses three Pelamis wave energy converters to convert the motion of the ocean surface waves into electricity.[12][13]


In 2011, Portugal produced 45 ktoe (Kiloton of Oil Equivalent) of biogas.[14]

See also[edit]


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