Wind Energy in Portugal

Portugal.jpgThe wind energy sector reached a maturity status within the Portuguese power system in 2016. The country deployed an additional 279 MW of wind power capacity—representing the highest value since 2012. Portugal reached a total of 5,313 MW installed wind power capacity, which represents 40% of the total renewable operational capacity in the country.

In 2016, Portuguese wind farms produced 12.5 TWh, meeting 24% of the nation’s electricity demand with wind energy [1–5]. For the second consecutive year, at certain hours wind energy covered more than 100% of the electricity demand without any technical problems reported by the Portuguese Transmission System Operator (TSO). The electricity production from renewable energy sources in 2016 reached 66% of the national consumption, and during four consecutive days in May, continental Portugal met 100% of its electricity needs with renewables.

The high contribution from endogenous resources enabled Portugal to reduce their dependency on foreign energy and exports exceeded imports for the first time since 1999.

Renewable Energy Targets

In April 2013, the Portuguese government established the national targets for renewable energy through the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) 2013–2020 [6]. This action plan sets the target for wind power to reach an installed capacity of 5,300 MW by 2020, of which 27 MW are reserved for offshore wind.

For 2016, the NREAP’s estimations for land-based and offshore wind farm installation were 4,915 MW and 27 MW, respectively. The total installed wind capacity was 5,313 MW, exceeding the estimation by 398 MW. In fact, the total installed capacity is now above the targets planned for 2020.

Policies Supporting Development

The NREAP renewable targets have not been adjusted since 2013. Therefore, the renewable targets previously set to 2020 are active and established as a 10.0% contribution for the transportation sector, 35.9% in the heating and cooling sectors, and 59.6% for electricity.

Portugal also took an important step toward the NREAP offshore targets in 2016. This governmental decision, approved after ensuring European funding for the offshore transmission
cable, authorizes the construction of a floating offshore wind park with a 25 MW nominal capacity. The Decree Law 153/2014 maintains and regulates the national incentives for micro and mini generation. Also, the 2015 feed-in tariffs remain valid for the existing installations during the statutory period. The mean tariff paid to the wind power plants in 2016 was 93.21 EUR /MWh (98.15 USD/MWh).