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, 27% of Portugal's energy needs were supplied by renewable sources. [2] In 2016, 28%[3] of final energy consumption in Portugal came from renewable sources, an increase against the previous year (27%).

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.[4]

While from 2002 to 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.[4]

During February 2016, an equivalent to 95% of electricity consumed in Portugal was produced by renewable sources such as biomass, hydropower, wind power and solar power. A total of 4139 GWh was produced by these sources.[5] In May 2016, all of Portugal's electricity was produced renewably for a period of over four days, a landmark achievement for a modern European country.[6]

The renewable energy produced in Portugal fell from 55.5% of the total energy produced in 2016 to 41.8% in 2017, due to the drought of 2017, which severely affected the production of hydro electricity.[7] The sources of the renewable energy that was produced in Portugal in 2017 were Wind power with 21.6% of the total (up from 20.7% in 2016), Hydro power with 13.3% (down from 28.1% in 2016), Bioenergy with 5.1% (same as in 2016), Solar power with 1.6% (up from 1.4% in 2016), Geothermal energy with 0.4% (up from 0.3% in 2016) and a small amount of Wave power in the Azores. 24% of the energy produced in the Azores is geothermal.[8][9][10][11][12]

Portugal committed to close all of the country's coal producing facilities by 2030, making it almost completely reliant on renewable energy in the incoming years.[13]

On July 14th 2020, EDP announced it would be closing the country's largest coal-fired power station, in Sines, by January 2021.[14][15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

The 240 MW Alto Minho Wind Farm in the Viana do Castelo district became fully operational in November 2008.[18] At the time of completion it was Europe's largest on-shore wind farm.[19]

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; the so-called Pumped-storage hydroelectricity.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22][23]

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 it opened on 23 September 2008. It was located three miles (5 km) offshore near Póvoa de Varzim north of Porto. The farm used three Pelamis wave energy converters to convert the motion of the ocean surface waves into electricity.[24][25] The wave farm was shut down in November 2008, just over two months after the official opening.[26][27]


In 2011, Portugal produced 45 ktoe (Kiloton of Oil Equivalent) of biogas.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Portugal PV technology status and prospects Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^
  6. ^ Neslen, Arthur (18 May 2016). "Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  7. ^ Martins Carvalho, Patrícia (22 November 2017). "Seca está a afetar produção de energia hídrica. Consumo de carvão dispara". Notícias ao Minuto. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Produção de energia eléctrica: total e a partir de fontes renováveis". Pordata. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Evolution of the Electricity Generation in Mainland Portugal". APREN. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Produção de Energia Eléctrica (KWh): Produção por Região, Origem da Energia e Ano, Mes (KWh)". Serviço Regional de Estatística dos Açores. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Fontes fósseis responsáveis por 63,4% da energia elétrica nos Açores". Diário de Notícias. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Electricidade de origem renovável na Madeira correspondeu a 29% da produção". 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Governo admite substituir carvão por biomassa no Pego" (Environment). Diário de Notícias. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  14. ^ "EDP fecha centrais de carvão nos próximos seis meses" (Environment). Euro News. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  15. ^ "EDP vai fechar central a carvão de Sines em janeiro de 2021" (Environment). O Jornal Económico. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  16. ^ :: Portal das Energias Renováveis :: Energia Hídrica :: Archived 2 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Wind farms in Portugal, March 2007
  18. ^ "Europe's biggest wind energy park inaugurated in Portugal". Yahoo News. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2008.[dead link]
  19. ^ Tremlett, Giles (2 December 2008). "Europe's biggest wind farm switches on". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  20. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth (9 August 2010). "Portugal Makes the Leap to Renewable Energy". The New York Times. Portugal. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  21. ^ Major solar power plant opens in Portugal
  22. ^ Portugal starts huge solar plant
  23. ^ World's largest solar power plant to be built
  24. ^ "23 de Setembro de 2008". Government of Portugal. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  25. ^ Jha, Alok (25 September 2008). "Making waves: UK firm harnesses power of the sea ... in Portugal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  26. ^ "Pelamis Sinks Portugal Wave Power". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009.
  27. ^ "Pelamis Wave Power Jettisons Its CEO, Rough Waters Ahead?". Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.
  28. ^[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]