Verdelago Resort to create renewable energy community

Verdelago Resort to create renewable energy community

Energy community will produce power for resort as well as around 100 families in need

Verdelago Resort in Castro Marim has unveiled plans to create what it calls the first renewable energy community at a tourist development in the Algarve.

Starting at the end of 2023, the future community will be able to produce enough energy for the resort as well as to support around 100 families in need, who will benefit from 20% discount on regular energy prices.

The project is being developed alongside Cleanwatts, a climate tech company which will build a 1560kWp photovoltaic station that will occupy only one of the resort’s 86 hectares of land.

The station will boast over 2,800 solar panels, says Cleanwatts founder and president Basílio Simões.

“In addition to supplying the resort with green energy, we will produce enough energy to support families in the region facing energy poverty,” Simões adds.

Besides reducing costs, the resort says it is taking a “significant step towards energy independence”, aiming for the annual total production of the solar plant to be equal to or exceed the amount of energy the resort consumes.

“Cleanwatts is committed to investing in the tourism sector, which, as we know, is one of the economy’s sectors that has grown the most in recent decades and is an area of special importance in Portugal, especially in the south of the country,” says Simões.

“The sector’s growth has brought new social, economic, and environmental challenges. While it is undeniable that the development of the activity has brought economic growth to local communities, it has also contributed to increased inequalities, pollution, and resource depletion. However, when approached from a sustainable perspective, tourism can have a strong positive impact on communities, and that is also the intention with this energy community: not only to help the company reduce costs but also to improve the lives of families in the region,” the company founder adds.

While the project has yet to move forward, the path ahead is clear. It will begin with the setting up of solar panels at the resort’s land, after which Cleanwatts’ goal will be to attract other consumers in the region, preferably with the “consumption profiles that complement” the resort.

“The community may later grow with the addition of new producer members who have land or roofs with the capacity to expand installed photovoltaic power. The community’s impact may also grow with the introduction of other renewable generation sources, such as wind, biomass, or hydro power,” explains Simões.

The project’s importance has also been highlighted by Verdelago’s general manager of Development, Paulo Monteiro.

“Being the first residential tourism resort in the Algarve with a renewable energy community positions us as leaders of a new generation of resorts that respond positively not only to economic and environmental sustainability dimensions but also social ones. Being a resort that generates and distributes energy fills us with pride. More important than being a huge competitiveness factor in the sector, it materialises our vision that the future will always be one of tourism that is part of the solution for the regions in which it is located and not a problem,” he says.

By Michael Bruxo

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