Portugal: Calls for renewable investment cuts

According to the study presented by the bank’s CEO, Fernando Ulrich, renewable energy investment totals €16.37 million for 10,966 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. Ulrich believes this is "excessive", and that wind and photovoltaic projects included in the National Energy Plan for 2020 should be postponed.

According to the Jornal de Notícias, the study states: "The investment estimated in the National Action Plan for Renewable Energy (PNAER) should be reassessed in terms of a reduction of the estimated investment (by €10.9 million) and of the pressure for electricity tariff increase."

However, the Portuguese Solar Industry Association (Apisolar) contested the study, saying that it is "full of mistakes and omissions" and "lacks rigor". The association, which represents the interests of companies related to Portugal’s photovoltaic industry believes the investment cut is based on "wrong presuppositions", Diário Económico reported.

Thus, the association disagrees with Ulrich’s statement. It believes that "the cost of investing in photovoltaic technology is currently 25 percent below the costs mentioned in the study. The tariffs are exaggerated in terms of their value and application period and the estimate for the evolution of tariffs is wrong."

"Portugal is developing an industrial frontline in terms of the photovoltaic sector, with engineering, manufacturing and installation companies who want to make a statement in the external markets. How can they leverage this activity without an internal market?" asks the association.

It continues: "How is it possible to suggest a divestiture on a technological area which shows great potential, knowing that the price of energy in the industry does not incorporate the so-called ‘extra cost associated to renewables’, which takes advantage of our natural resources and creates jobs, and generates strong return in terms of VAT and IRC for the State?"

Similar criticism had already been raised by the president of the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (Apren) at the beginning of April.