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    Portugal has conditions "to be in the front line" in offshore wind power

    September 20, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras


      With an auction of offshore wind space with a capacity of up to 8GW planned for the spring of 2023, Portugal is sparking international interest in this area of renewable energy. "Portugal has the conditions to be in the front line and to keep up with the peloton" in this market, said António Sarmento, president of WavEC Offshore Renewables, on the sidelines of the presentation of IberBlueWind, a new joint venture specialized in the development of floating offshore wind farms, yesterday in Madrid. However, the leadership in Europe will fall to countries like France or the United Kingdom that have targets to install, by 2030, 50GW and 20GW, respectively. "These are countries that also have a stronger industrial chain and a very large penetration of bottom-up wind energy.

      However, Portugal has a large Exclusive Economic Zone 18 times the size of its territorial area, which may extend up to 40 times more, which may dictate new rules in the future: "We are in an initial phase of wind energy growth, which develops as much as possible close to the coast, for issues concerning the ability to export this energy to land. But it's not impossible that in the future we will design artificial islands in the middle of the ocean and find other ways to transport this energy to land. But this will take place in the long term, not 10 years from now," António Sarmento points out.

      On the other hand, Portugal currently has to solve a major challenge that has to do with the national power grid's ability to receive energy from offshore wind power. "We have an electrical grid that is not able to absorb all the energy. Therefore, we will have to make a great effort to reinforce the electric grid and this is a development element that may bring some delays in the implementation of the projects," stresses the marine renewable energy specialist. António Sarmento also points out that "if it is necessary to launch new very high voltage grids on land, this has environmental procedures that are highly demanding and are often delayed even by issues that have to do with the populations that do not accept this situation.

      Currently, Portugal is the 5th country in Europe with the highest weight of renewable energies in the energy mix (Spain is the 8th), and both countries aim to reach 100% of renewable energies in 2050, as dictated by the European Ecological Pact.

      It is in this context that the new joint venture, made up of two Spanish companies and an Irish group, wants to invest in Portugal. IberBlue Wind wants to invest in two offshore wind farms in northern and central Portugal and two more in Spain, in Galicia and Andalusia. Adrián de Andrés, vice president of IberBlue Wind, told Negócios that the interest in investing in Portugal stems from the fact that the country "has an ambitious posture in the area of offshore wind power. Portugal aims to reach 8GW of production capacity by 2030, while Spain aims to reach 3GB in the same period.

      The joint venture is preparing to bid for the wind auction scheduled in Portugal for 2023, planning to build two wind farms, which will boost the two aforementioned regions in Portugal. In addition to contributing to increasing the renewable capacity in Portugal, the projects will also create numerous jobs in these regions, pointed out the responsible at the presentation. Everything will depend on the result of the auction, but the joint-venture is already setting up a team in Porto with 10 people and hopes to reach 50 jobs in the development phase. According to Adrián de Andrés, the number of jobs generated could later reach "hundreds or thousands of people in the construction phase of the wind farms," which is expected to take between seven and eight years.

      Thus, IberBlue Wind sees the present moment as unique for capitalizing on offshore wind energy in the Iberian Peninsula, not only as an energy opportunity, but also as an economic opportunity, "since both countries have excellent wind resources, a long history in coastal engineering, and first-class public works," Adrián de Andrés points out.

      In the case of Portugal, Adrián de Andrés mentioned that the country's legislation "is ready to provide exclusive maritime space for wind energy, although it is necessary to adapt the regulation to establish the procedure for auctioning these exploration rights."

      The IberBlue Wind vice president recalled the Portuguese government's goal of producing 8GW of ocean renewable energy in the coming years, almost double the 5.6 GW of onshore wind power currently generated, and left an appeal to the Spanish government to also be "more ambitious" in the bidding process for offshore wind farms. In this regard, he stated that the generation capacity of these facilities in Spain could reach more than 10GW in the future, a figure much higher than the Spanish government's forecast of 1 to 3GW by 2030.

      The new joint venture is composed of the Irish group Simply Blue and the Spanish companies Proes Consultores and FF New Energy Ventures and claims, with this joint venture, the capacity to take over all phases of offshore wind farm development and boost the essential energy transition towards sustainability.

      The journalist traveled to Madrid at the invitation of IberBlue Wind


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