In Portugal, 31 new solar power plants are to be built, with a total of more than 1,000 MW of production capacity by 2021. The total value of the projects has been estimated at around 800 million euros.
” In 2021 we will be able to triple the solar capacity in Portugal, from the current 572 MW to about 1600 MW, ” said Jorge Seguro Sanches, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Energy.
Portugal has already generated more than 100% of its electricity needs using renewable energy, mainly thanks to hydroelectric and wind power.
Of course, the most sensible thing to do is to balance these two ways of generating green power with a third, especially since the cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically in recent years, making it more affordable. Also, energy storage in the form of battery systems is getting cheaper and they can be combined well with solar panels.
Portugal’s goal is to be able to run completely on renewable electricity: “ Last month’s achievement is an example of what will happen more frequently in the near future. It is expected that by the year 2040, the production of renewable electricity can profitably guarantee the total annual electricity consumption of mainland Portugal ”, declared the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association and the Sustainable Earth System Association.
An economic benefit of investing in renewable energy is the end of subsidies for fossil fuels : “ Separately, on Tuesday, the Government suspended subsidies to producers for the guaranteed supply of energy, worth about 20 million euros per year, most of which goes to fossil fuel plants in standby mode for backup ”.
Naturally, any excess electricity can be exported and that is exactly what has happened, “ In addition, the Portuguese electricity system had a net export balance of 249 GWh, which translates to almost 24 million euros. Export prices of electricity increased due to the emergency of the French electricity sector and adverse weather conditions in Central Europe .
The renewable energy has been considered, by some, as only environmental interest, but Portugal is showing that it can also have economic benefits.