Alternative energy investments for sustainable development in Portugal

Countries across the world have realized the importance of alternative energy investments, and kicked off 2011 with a large number of alternative energy projects. Portugal, planning to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel sources, has placed itself at the forefront of worldwide demand for sustainable economic development based on alternative sources of energy.

More commonly, Portugal is considered a poor country in terms of available traditional energy sources since it has no oil wells, coal mines or gas deposits. Portugal has tremendous energy potential in terms of alternative sources, however, which can and should be exploited. By providing for investments in energy, Portugal not only reduces dependence on foreign energy supplies, but also reduces its environmental footprint via fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol and a number of EU directives were established to combat climate change. To this end, Portugal contains a relatively dense hydrographic network, a higher-than-average annual sun exposure, and has a broad seafront – it benefits from the Atlantic winds which allow it to harness the energy potential of water, light, waves and wind. These conditions grant Portugal enormous potential to take advantage of alternative forms of energy as a substitute to consumption of fossil fuels. Portugal is in a privileged position, not only to offset the lack of fossil fuel sources, but also to be a regional pioneer. By reducing energy dependence on traditional energy sources, Portugal will be placing itself at the forefront of making alternative energy investments for sustainable development.

Portugal has taken a bold commitment towards the other nations of the European Union by setting an ambitious goal with regard to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. In 2010, it proposed that 39 percent of electricity generated will be from alternative sources, it is the third largest contributor to the European Union’s group climate change goals as a result. Further, the government of Portugal in 2005 revised a clean energy investments plan to produce green energy from different alternative sources.

In this strategy, they determined that the production of electricity from alternative energy would more than 40%, and more than 10% of the transport sector will use biofuels by 2010.  Wind energy, biofuels, micro-generation, and bio-energy would be utilized. Around 1,950 MW of wind energy generators will be implemented by 2012, and many existing wind energy producing stations are to be upgraded. Wind energy investments will promote the creation of “technology clusters” and attract plenty of “clean energy business” to the nation. Portugal further plans to build up the existing hydro-electric infrastructure in order to achieve the previously stated goal of 5,575 MW of hydro-power capacity.

- Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer is an oil and gas consultant, industry commentator and analyst. His book, Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including exploration, drilling, production, storage, transportation and refining, to name but a few.

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