EU must have different energy supply scenario by autumn, says PM

Portugal ‘reinforcing’ renewables production ahead of winter’

Prime minister António Costa has stressed today how the EU has to reach the autumn “with another situation in terms of energy”, given its dependence on Russia.

Talking at the end of the meeting of the European Council in Brussels, he referred to “global risks” in the supply of gas.

“Portugal is a country that does not depend, as Germany does, on the supply of Russian gas. We have a very strong incorporation in our energy consumption of renewable energies,”which count for 60% of the production of electricity” – but other countries are not so well-placed.

Between now and winter, energy production capacity here will be ‘reinforced’ with the Cascata do Tâmaga hydropower station coming into full operation next month, and with new solar plants.

On the wider scale, “orientation in the EU” should be on “accelerating, for all those who can, the transition to new forms of energy production and to strengthening joint purchasing mechanisms, the interconnection mechanisms and the mechanisms for everyone to collaborate in a logistical operation to ensure that countries that are more dependent on Russian gas and oil can have alternative sources as soon as possible”.

In this context, the PM spoke of the contribution that Sines port can give countries, “trying to free themselves of Russian gas”. Liquefied natural gas “could be an alternative” for countries like Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, he said.

A little over a month ago, the European Commission warned of the risk of “serious gas supply disruptions” across the bloc next winter due to problems with Russia – proposing more storage and accepting the use of joint purchasing mechanisms.

At the same time, the institution asked EU countries to update contingency plans, ask transport operators to speed-up technical measures to increase flow and also to make solidarity agreements – as only 18 of the 27 Member States have infrastructure to store natural gas.

The EU still imports 90% of the gas it consumes, with Russia accounting for around 45% of those imports at varying levels between member states.

Russian gas in Portugal accounted for less than 10% of total imports in 2021.

Source: LUSA