Portugal's Bold Renewable Push: World's Biggest Solar and Wind Farms
Image from LukeGordon1 via flickr
After previously setting a record for having the world's largest PV project (though it was soon to be upstaged by countless other entries), Portugal is set to once again reclaim that title when it breaks ground on a 45 MW, £250 million farm near Moura. The PV farm, which will contain 2,520 solar panels, will supply enough energy to power 30,000 homes. As impressive as it may sound, this farm is just one of the many renewable projects the country is pursuing as part of its ambitious environmental agenda, reports The Guardian's John Vidal.
Portugal hopes to generate 31 percent of its energy from clean technologies by 2020 -- which would require it to increase its renewable energy share from 20 percent in 2005 to 60 percent in 2020.
Image from The Guardian
As Vidal explains, Portugal has made tremendous progress over the last 3 years and is now close to claiming the lead in the EU renewables' league (well worth reading; see bottom of the article):
"In less than three years, Portugal has trebled its hydropower capacity, quadrupled its wind power, and is investing in flagship wave and photovoltaic plants. Encouraged by long-term guarantees of prices by the state, and not delayed by planning laws or government indecision, it has proved a success. Firms are expected to invest £10bn in renewables by 2012 and up to £100bn by 2020."
Not only is the country making great strides in building its solar industry, it is also making huge inroads in the wind and wave sectors (and garnering a lot of "world's biggest" plaudits): The world's biggest wind farm is being assembled in northern Portugal across Spain's border, and the world's first commercial wave farm, which is being developed by Scottish company Pelamis, is being built near Porto.
These words from the minister of economics, Manuel Pinho, will certainly endear his country to environmentalists and other renewable enthusiasts: "When you have a programme like this there is no need for nuclear power. Wind and water are our nuclear power." Now if only we could convince politicians back home of this...