Portugal Accelerates Renewables Development To Offset Volatile Fossil Fuel Prices

National Economy

The population of the Portuguese Republic (Portugal) is approximately 10.1 million people[1]. In 2021, 100% of the people in this Southwestern European country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021 Portugal’s economy was ranked 46th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy[4] is dependent on the export of cars, motor vehicle parts, refined petroleum, leather footwear, packaged medicaments, cork, and hat forms.

Environmental Policies

In 2009, Portugal as a member of the European Union (EU) committed to the Renewable Energy Directive,” which requires each country to use renewable energy for 20% of its total energy needs by 2020 and 27% by 2030.

In 2016, Portugal as a member of the EU signed the “Paris Climate Agreement”[5]. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

In 2019, the government of Portugal committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, the state-owned electric utility, Energias de Portugal (EDP) used renewable energy (62.7 %), natural gas (32.1 %), oil (3.0%), and coal (2.2 %) to generate electricity in the country[6]. Wind, hydropower, biomass, and solar are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Portugal.

Recent renewable energy projects in Belgium include:

  • 1,146 MW Solar Project – Spanish utility, Iberdrola is continuing work on the Santiago do Cacém Solara project at a site approximately 50 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, Lisbon. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
  • 230 MW Rooftop Solar Projects – In 2021, 230 MW of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels were installed in Portugal with the nation’s “self-consumption” program.
  • 146 MW Solar Projects – In October 2020, German renewable energy company, WiNRG commissioned five solar projects in the Portuguese municipalities of Amareleja, Cartaxo, Ferreira do Alentejo, Santarém and Moura.
  • 59 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, WiNRG commissioned a solar project at a site approximately 100 miles south-southwest of Lisbon.
  • 25 MW Floating Wind Project – In January 2020, European consortium Windplus (EDP, Repsol, Engie, and Principal Power) commissioned the Wind Float Atlantic The pilot project is located approximately 12 miles off the northern coastal Portuguese town of Viana do Castelo.
  • 5 MW Floating Solar Project – In July 2022, Portugal utility, EDP commissioned a floating solar project, which is located approximately 75 miles east-southeast of Lisbon.
  • Floating Solar Auction – In March 2022, Portugal’s Environment and Energy Transition minister Joao Matos Fernandes announced the nation would hold an auction for 3,000 MW to 4,000 MW of floating solar projects, which will be operational by 2026.


Portugal imports fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2020, the country[7] spent U.S. $3.53 Billion for imported crude oil and U.S. $1.42 Billion for imported natural gas.

In 2021, Portugal used fossil fuels to generate 37.3 % of the nation’s electricity. In 2021, Russia[8] provided 5% of Portugal’s crude oil, coal, and natural gas imports.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the European Union, United States, Canada, Japan, and South Korea placing embargos on Russian exports. As a result, the price for crude oil and natural gas increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Portugal has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass. Portugal’s goal is to generate 80% of its electricity from renewables  by 2030. Volatile crude oil and natural gas prices are causing Portugal to accelerate the development of new renewable energy projects.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.


[1] Portugal Population (2022) – December 15, www.worldometers.info

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Portugal

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Portugal

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Portugal: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Portugal Imports

[8] Energy In Portugal: Where Does Portugal Get Its Energy From? By Lara Silva, 4 August 2022.

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