PORTUGAL’S GOVERNMENT, which is investing in the construction of wind and solar farms as well as dams for hydro electric power, wants 45 per cent of the country’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2010.
“This challenge will create a new industrial revolution,” Portugal’s economy minister, Manuel Pinho, told the BBC. “The countries that move first will have an advantage.”
Manuel Pinho also said that he expects the proportion of electricity generated in this way to rise to around 55 per cent by 2020, which, if successful, will rank Portugal with Sweden and Denmark at the top of the European league for renewable energy.
A project backed by the French electricity company EDF to build Europe’s largest wind farm with 120 wind turbines in the Minho Valley, northern Portugal, is currently under way. This project, when complete, is expected to supply 12 per cent of the country’s energy requirements.
Ten new dams are also planned in the country, while existing ones are being upgraded to develop Portugal’s hydro-electric power supply.
One of the largest solar power stations in the world, with 2,500 solar trackers lined in rows across a 250 hectare site, is currently being constructed in Moura, in the Alentejo. This project, with the potential to produce 46.41 megawatts of electricity is due to be completed this month.
A new system, consisting of British-designed wave generators, which have no impact on the countryside, is going to be towed out to sea from the quayside in Porto, creating the world’s first commercial wave farm this year.
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