PORTUGAL LOOKS set to continue being the country in the EU most dependent on crude oil for its energy needs.
According to a 2006 report, published by International Energy Agency (IEA), Portugal is among the worst countries in Europe in terms of energy consumption, efficiency, coherent energy policies and reductions in wastage in both the construction and transport sectors.
Construction and transport use up around 60 per cent of the country’s fuel imports, while Portugal’s petroleum demand represents 54 per cent of energy demand overall.
The government aims to make Portugal less dependent on imported oil from countries like Venezuela and the Middle East and coal from South Africa, Bolivia, Australia and Poland.
Instead, it wants to increase its dependence on cleaner sources of fuel by using renewable sources, biomass, diesel mass, hydroelectricity, aeolic and wave power to 19 per cent of the total by 2010, against 15 per cent at present.
Despite the tendency of the past 30 years to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, energy combustion from various types of fossil fuel is worth 80 per cent of all Portugal’s fuel requirements.
Portugal stands accused by the EU and environmental groups of catching the alternative fuel boat rather later than all the other EU counterparts except Greece.
Portugal’s interest in renewable energy sources, from both the private and public sectors, has been among the most vigorous in Europe simply because other countries have opted for nuclear energy, which Portugal has so far refused to exploit.
Energy expert, Professor Eduardo Oliveira Fernandes, said: “The present government is at least trying to make some effort to change entrenched tendencies and turn to renewable energy sources, but there continues to be fundamental policy problems and issues over efficiency, which have to be agreed upon and solved.”
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