More recycled water use, radical increase in renewable energy

  • Lusa
  • 21 July 2022

Regarding investments at the level of solar energy, the environment minister said that by 2022, Portugal, in addition to having broken the barrier of 2,000 megawatts already installed.

Portugal’s environment minister has promised a radical increase in the production of renewable energy in Portugal, more licensing for recycled water and a strategic environmental assessment of projects to strengthen the flow in the mid-section of the Tagus river.

These lines of action in the areas of environment, energy and fight against climate change were transmitted by Duarte Cordeiro in the debate on the state of the nation, in the Portuguese parliament on Wednesday.

In terms of energy reconversion, Duarte Cordeiro argued that Portugal “is more protected than most of its European partners, thanks to the investment in renewable energies”, but “is not immune” to the current international instability.

The environment minister also advocated that, despite the current situation, Portugal has managed to contain electricity prices, citing, for this purpose, the Regulatory Authority of the Electricity Sector (ERSE), which indicates that, between 2018 and 2022, there was “an accumulated reduction of 115% in network access tariffs”.

“Domestic electricity consumers observed a 3.7% reduction in the final price in the regulated market,” he pointed out.

Regarding investments at the level of solar energy, the minister said that by 2022, Portugal, in addition to having broken the barrier of 2,000 megawatts already installed, expects about 1,200 more megawatts to come on stream.

“In the current scenario of high prices, if all the solar plants allocated in the three auctions we promoted were in operation, Portuguese consumers would benefit from a saving of more than 2.1 billion euros,” he maintained.

Also according to Duarte Cordeiro, in 2023, a “major auction for wind energy production on floating offshore platforms” will be launched.

“This is a project that will radically change our renewable production capacity. We want an auction that will add at least 10 gigawatts to our production. The offshore wind energy auction will be the most ambitious renewable energy project ever, in Portugal,” he stressed.

In terms of green hydrogen, the minister said that more than 70 green hydrogen projects had been identified, resulting in an investment of around 10 billion euros.

“We have the deep conviction that during this mandate we will be able to start exporting green hydrogen,” he added.

In the first part of his speech, the minister warned that, given the frequency of drought periods, water must be used “sparingly at home, in the fields and in factories”.

“It must be preserved at its sources. And it must be reused, for purposes that do not require its potability,” he added.

By 2030, the government’s intention is to “generalise the principle of reuse, using 20% of the capacity of national water plants”.

“With the simplification of environmental procedures, which we will enshrine in Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, we will make the licensing and use of recycled water easier,” he promised.

Furthermore, the environment minister said, in September the strategic environmental assessment of projects to boost flow in the middle Tagus section will move forward.

“The solutions identified by the Portuguese Environment Agency consist of a tunnel connection to the Zêzere river or the construction of a dam on the Ocresa river,” he said.

In terms of forestry, Duarte Cordeiro stressed that “reforms are underway” such as the Landscape Transformation Programme, “with 270 million euros from the PRR (Recovery and Resilience Plan – the EU bazooka fund) and the enlargement of the BUPi (Single Property Counter), which already has 139 municipalities signing up”.

“We have to protect the forest and give it economic value to meet the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, reduce emissions by over 85% and preserve biodiversity,” he stressed.