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Transition

‘Two-thirds of our electricity comes from renewable sources’

Portugal has ‘decarbonized’ from burning coal. In January 2021 the coal-fired power plant located in Sines was closed and the power plant in Pego (Abrantes) shut down in November. However, according to the tabloid Correio da Manhã, both companies continue to produce electricity from the burning of coal in Spain, from where it is imported into Portugal.


Two-thirds of the electricity in Portugal nowadays comes from renewable sources: hydroelectric(28%), wind (24%), solar (8%), and biomass (7%).

The country’s current photovoltaic solar capacity of 1775 megawatts (MW) was increased by 700 MW last year, the biggest increase ever. In wind energy, 2021 was also an excellent year with 126 MW more wind power than in the previous year.


Portugal’s largest solar power plant was inaugurated in the mountainous terrain of the Serra do Caldeirão in Alcoutim (Eastern Algarve). The 660,000 panels generate enough electricity (220 megawatts) to power 200.000 homes.



Europe’s largest floating solar power plant in a hydroelectric dam – located in the Alqueva reservoir – will start operating next month. The 12,000 floating solar panels – with a size of four soccer fields – have a capacity of 5 MW.

In the Atlantic – 20 kilometres off the coast of Viana do Castelo – there are three giant wind turbines. One of them – 190 metres high – is the tallest in the world. They are set on floating platforms attached with 40 metres long chains to the seabed and in operation since 2020. The turbines are capable of supplying around 60.000 homes with electricity every year.


In March the government approved the acquisition of 10 electric ferries, connecting Lisbon with Seixal, Montijo, Cacilhas and Trafaria across the Tagus river. With these vessels, the shipping company saves around 5.3 million litres of diesel corresponding to an emission of 13 thousand tons of CO2.

The port of Sines will be the stage for a mega-investment of 1.3 billion euros in green hydrogen and ammonia to be produced from renewable sources. The hydrogen (H2) project will install an electrolysis capacity of 500 MW allowing an annual production of 70 thousand tons of green hydrogen. The ammonia project combines green hydrogen and nitrogen to produce green ammonia, an essential component for the fertilizer industry.


Portugal’s first lithium refinery will be sited in Setúbal. The production – with an initial capacity of 30,000 tonnes of lithium per year, enough to create batteries for 700,000 electric vehicles – will start by the end of 2025.

‘Energy powering of the plant will be green’ – stated the Portuguese Galp consortium – ‘minimising dependency on natural gas’. Nothing in GALP’s statement, however, refers to the fierce opposition in the Portuguese communities, that have been earmarked for lithium mining!



Enjoy your week          Aproveite a semana               (pics PtRes,Ptnews)


















Greenhouse

July was the world’s hottest month on record.

The planet has reached +1.1°C above pre-industrial levels and is already starting to suffer the consequences with wildfires ravaging the US, Siberia, Greece, and Turkey, floods in Germany, Japan, and China, and thermometers hitting 50°C in Canada.

CO2 concentrations continue to rise and global warming is happening faster, warned United Nations, climate experts. In 2030 the limit of the Paris agreement (+1,5°C) could already be reached, 10 years earlier than estimated!

Temperatures are expected to rise even quicker around the Mediterranean. In Lisbon, average summer temperatures are predicted to rise from 28 to 34 degrees and the number of extremely hot days ( > 35°C) from 5 to 50 per year. Sea levels in the Algarve will rise by 20-30 cm.

However, hope gives life. Portugal is at the forefront of the European energy transition, according to the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyden.

There has been a significant rise in the consumption of renewable energy thanks to a reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels and the closure of the country’s biggest coal-fired power plant in Sines. Renewable energy production now supplies 68% of the electric consumption in Portugal.

Compared to other European countries, the country consumes less energy – about half of the EU average – and produces less waste. On the other hand, the country has one of the lowest rates of recycling materials, only one-fifth of the EU average.

The country rose eight places last year on the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) – a comparative analysis of climate protection in 57 countries led by Sweden – currently occupying place 17. Although greenhouse gases are decreasing in half of the countries analyzed, none of the countries is on a path compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of 2015.

This summer two hydrogen-powered buses started circulating in the seaside resort of Cascais. It is the first municipality in the country to have electric buses powered by the energy generated onboard using a fuel cell.

The buses will serve two routes closely linked to nature. One along the sea, serving Guincho beach, and the other serving the Sintra-Cascais Natural park.

Contrary to popular belief, the Portuguese do not seem to be overly concerned about increases in fuel or heating prices as long as this contributes to the EU target of reducing emissions by at least 55% until 2030. A recent survey by the European Federation of Transport and Environment showed that more than 70% of the Portuguese want their government to increase efforts to slow down greenhouse emissions.

That climate change can also lead to unexpected side effects, shows the arrival of a colony of about 3000 flamingos – for the first time successfully nesting in the Algarve and the return of dolphins in the Lisbon Tagus.

Stay healthy                          Fique saudável            (pic Público/Ptnews)