Portugal is, like most countries, beginning to plan for an economic relaunch after the ravages of COVID-19. With 28,000 cases and just over 1,000 deaths, the country doing better than many European nations and is hoping to be able to relaunch its economy in full force very soon. But it’s not going to be just a relaunch, it’s going to be a reboot, too: Portugal is planning to move forward in a big way towards a green future.
“The economy cannot grow along the lines of the past and our post-coronavirus vision is to create wealth from projects that reduce carbon emissions and promote energy transition and sustainable mobility,” Portugal’s Minister of Environment and Energy Transition, Joao Matos Fernandes, told Reuters Magazine.
Towards those aims, Portugal’s new green future includes a new solar-powered hydrogen plant being planned near the port city of Sines. It is hoped that it will be able to contribute a gigawatt of power to Portugal’s grid by 2023, if the proper investment falls into place. Energy firms both in Portugal and abroad have shown interest, so the plant is expected to launch as soon as business can resume as normal.
Another green future project in the works is a nationwide solar energy measure. Portugal will auction off solar real estate in uninhabited parts of the country to international energy firms. Being one of Europe’s sunniest countries, Portugal is prime solar energy territory. Last June, the country sold licenses to enough space to generate 1,150 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity to energy investors from Britain, Spain, France, and Germany.
Almost a third of Portugal’s power currently comes from renewables like solar, which is a massive improvement from where the nation started. Only a decade ago, Portugal’s CO2 numbers could be compared to urban India, where 16 times as many people live in the same space.
Ultimately, Portugal’s goals include closing all coal plants in the country by 2030 and producing 7,000 MW per hour of clean energy.