The Portuguese government wants to speed up the energy transition even if it means relaxing control over the impact of some new projects on the environment. This afternoon, Prime Minister António Costa presented the first package of Simplex licences, which alters the regulations on environmental supervision that were in force until now and which will expedite the development of investments in the field of renewables so that the objective that can be achieved The Portuguese Government has set itself: reaching 80% of energy production with renewable sources in 2026. “For this to happen we have to accelerate the production capacity of renewable energies and for that we need to simplify the procedures for these investments”, defended the Prime Minister during a ceremony held at the new Iberdrola solar plants in Alcochete.
At the end of 2021, the production of energy from renewable sources in Portugal was 59% of the total. Costa recalled that it was the first country in the world to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. “These measures respond to the main environmental challenges we are experiencing and contribute to the fight against climate change. We simplify but we do not leave unprotected”, affirmed the Minister of Environment and Energy, Duarte Cordeiro.
With the new procedure, neither projects for the production of green hydrogen nor solar plants that occupy less than 100 hectares nor wind towers that are more than two kilometers apart will have to undergo environmental assessment, which will save bureaucracy for industrial developers in areas without environmental protection. But what is good news for the energy sector is terrible for environmental associations like Zero, which regrets the measure: “It is a typical vision of the last century, where the debate was between the environment and the economy with a logic of exclusion. This vision has long since been surpassed and today the importance of many environmental instruments as a guarantee of sustainability is recognized”.
The regulatory relaxation will extend to other areas such as the modernization of railways, which are considered essential for the development of a less polluting transport model, or the renewal of licenses in active industries that have already submitted to environmental evaluation in the past. .
The presentation of the licenses from the Portuguese Government took place in Alcochete, where Iberdrola has just built two solar plants (46 megawatts) that incorporate bifacial modules and will increase energy production by 30%. When they start operating they will be able to meet the annual energy demand of 26,400 homes, according to Iberdrola estimates.
The Spanish company has several energy projects underway, among which the Támega gigabattery stands out, a large hydroelectric storage project in which more than 1,500 million euros were invested, inaugurated last July. The president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, assured that the company will invest 3,000 million in the coming years in new wind, solar and storage projects, which will be added to the 2,000 million that are already underway. Galán praised the decisions of the Portuguese Government to facilitate the energy transition. “The new initiatives show Portugal’s clear leadership,” he said.
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