Volatile Fossil Fuel Prices Accelerate Renewables Development In Portugal

National Economy

In European country of the Portuguese Republic (Portugal) is bordered by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Portugal is approximately 10.11 million people[1].

In 2021 Portugal’s economy was ranked 46th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The country’s economy[3] is dependent on the export of cars, motor vehicle parts, leather footwear, rubber tires, 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”[4]. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

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

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2020, 100% of the people in Portugal had access to electricity[5]. In 2022, the state-owned electric company, Energias de Portugal used renewable energy (59.8 %), natural gas (37.0 %), oil (3.1%), and coal (0.1%) 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:

  • 1,200 MW Solar Project – In February 2023, Spanish utility, Iberdrola announced plans to build a solar project at a site approximately 125 miles south of the nation’s capital, Lisbon. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
  • 1,146 MW Solar Project – Iberdrola is continuing work on the Santiago do Cacém Solara project at a site approximately 50 miles southwest of 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 Wind plus (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 on the Alqueva reservoir, which is located approximately 75 miles east-southeast of Lisbon.


Portugal imports virtually all fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, the country[7] imported U.S. $4.46 Billion for crude oil and U.S. $2.52 Billion for refined petroleum.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices 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 fossil fuel prices have accelerated Portugal’s rate of renewable energy project development.

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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.


[1] Portugal Population (2023) – June 2, 2023, www.worldometers.info

[2] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2022 – Worldometer

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

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

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

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

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

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