Câmara approves bioelectric centre in Monchique .jpg

Câmara approves bioelectric centre in Monchique

FOREST RESIDUE could be used to generate electricity at a bioelectric centre in Monchique. Preliminary studies have been carried out and the project has been approved by Monchique Câmara. The Direcção Geral de Energia e Geologia (DGCE), the energy and geology board, has also approved the project, which is being considered as a Potencial Interesse National (PIN), a potential national interest project.

The company spearheading the project, EDP Bioélectrica, is a subsidiary of the national energy firm Energias de Portugal (EDP).

No location has officially been designated for the centre, although Monchique Câmara has said that it will not be constructed in a conservation area. One of the potential sites under consideration is near Herdade das Águas, Alves. EDP aims to motivate those responsible for forest areas to clear the natural waste regularly and transport it to the centre to be transformed into electricity for the surrounding areas.

With regular removal of forest biomass, many hope that the incidence of forest fires will also be reduced as many begin on the ground where parched leaves and branches act as catalysts to the fire.

Portugal already has one centre for bioelectric production in operation in Mortágua, in the Viseu region of central Portugal, which is able to produce sufficient energy to meet the needs of about 35,000 inhabitants. The centre in Mortágua is also owned by EDP.

However, the bioelectric centre in Monchique will produce a considerable amount less than its Mortágua counterpart, but this could change in the future.

Similar centres could open in Faro and the Beja region as soon as next year, but they are at preliminary planning stages.

The government believes that these centres potentially could reduce energy costs for Portugal, especially as the country is almost completely dependent on external energy supplies.