Wind power “could cover almost 40% of Portugal’s electricity by 2030”

A new 60 million euro floating wind farm project – to be stationed 20 kms off the coast near Viana do Castelo – is one of the many reasons for ‘bullish expectations’ within the sector.

The project, led by Windplus – a subsidiary of EDP Renewables, Repsol and Principle Power – is only the second of its kind in the world, reports online website New Europe today.

It will sit in water 80-100 metres deep, and is described as “very interesting for Portugal which has large, deep territorial waters and significant wind resources”.

Talking to New Europe, Andrew Canning – communications director of WindEurope – explains that onshore wind farms in Portugal already cover 24% of national electricity consumption.

Forecasts are for this percentage to increase to 31% by 2020, and to almost 40% by 2030.

Last month, the government passed legislation that “allows operators in Portugal to add turbines to up to 20% of the grid connection capacity at existing wind farms without regulatory permission”.

The measure “seeks to boost wind capacity while protecting electricity consumers by setting a fixed 15-year tariff of €45/MWh for the additional electricity generated”, says New Europe, adding up-to-date data on Portugal’s ‘positioning’ when it comes to EU climate objectives.

Said a spokeswoman (unidentified), Portugal’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets are “within reach”, but “additional effort and investments are necessary for the 2050 carbon neutral targets”.

Based on current information, total greenhouse gas emissions here were reduced by 17.4% between 2005 and 2017.

However, “greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 increased by 7.1% compared to 2016, due to forest fires and the extreme drought.

“2018 greenhouse gas inventory for 2016 indicate that the largest sectors in terms of greenhouse gas emissions were the energy sector (26% of total) followed by transport (24%), industry (20%) and agriculture (10%).”

But while New Europe concentrates on the plus-side of wind farm projects, Lusa has issued yet another warning of how these silent twirling giants “take space from migratory birds”.

Using GPS technology, Portuguese investigators have discovered that birds “avoid flying in a radius of 650 to 700 metres around each turbine”.

Says Ana Teresa Marques who led this latest study: “We recommend that authorities recognise the extent of the impact of wind power generation and establish new regulations to reconcile it with wildlife conservation in areas that are important for migration”.

Marques also stressed that the impact of the installation of wind parks for migrating birds is still “poorly understood”, bearing in mind that problems caused by turbines are not restricted to the collision by birds with the turbines’ paddles.

[email protected]