Divided government “postpones” approval of Portugal’s energy saving plan
Duarte Cordeiro at the press conference yesterday following the Council of Ministers

Divided government “postpones” approval of Portugal’s energy saving plan

Measures due to have been announced yesterday delayed

In the maelstrom of reactions to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the fact that the government in Portugal failed in its intention to announce “further measures” to save energy through the winter has barely been mentioned.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã refers this morning to a “divided government”, incapable of coming up with the promised policy statement.

According to the paper, measures – even though some were suggested by the energy agency (Agência para a Energia) “did not satisfy all ministers”.

“As a result, the plan will have to be reformulated”, says the paper, “to be presented shortly”.

In the meantime, minister for the environment and climate action Duarte Cordeiro has referred to three ‘ideas’ to reduce energy consumption in Portugal – involving public administration, local administration and what the paper calls “coercive measures”.

Within these ideas are plans to “turn off interior and exterior lights when establishments are not functioning; reduce decorative lights over festive periods like Christmas, and after a certain time in the evening (midnight being a suggested ‘cut off’ point), as well as reducing temperatures in buildings powered by natural gas.

Portugal’s executive is aspiring towards a 15% reduction compared to average consumption over the past five years, but until the energy-saving plan is finalised, current measures are aimed at a target of 5%, while efforts so far have already cut consumption, according to the government, by 20%.  

Coercive measures’ will only apply if the recommendation to reduce energy consumption by (another) 7% becomes mandatory, Duarte Cordeiro has added.

In spite of their lack of agreement, yesterday’s Council of Ministers did approve an investment of €4.5 million “to increase the capacity of Sines port to receive gas” from incoming tankers.

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