Portugal: renewable energy sector wants first auction for large-scale solar and wind

Portuguese renewable energy association Apren has called on Portugal’s government to launch an auction for large-scale solar and wind power projects on the model of the 3 GW auction recently held by the Spanish government.

“In Portugal,” Apren said in its statement, “an auction of this kind, and of this size, has never been launched to date. This may represent a very interesting solution to have lower power production prices for new power plants, and to enable Portugal to comply with its 2020 EU renewable energy target.”

Apren stressed that Spain’s recent auction was a very important step to restore confidence to all potential investors in renewable energies. The association also highlighted that the price of €43/MWh at which the auction concluded it is cheaper than current power generation from coal and nuclear source.

According to Portuguese financial newspaper Jornal de Negocios, there are currently 15 large-scale PV projects being planned in Portugal. Hyperion, a unit of local utility EDP, is planning to build five PV plants totaling 150 MW in the south of the country at a cost of €130 million, while another 220 MW solar facility is being developed by UK-based renewable energy company Welink and Chinese engineering services provider China Triumph International Engineering (CTIEC).

Furthermore, local developer Expoentfokus is planning to deploy 130 MW of solar capacity in the country thanks to an investment ranging from €100 million to €120 million. Other MW-sized PV projects are also being implemented by local firm Exus Management Partners. All of these projects could eventually compete in the future auction requested by Apren.

Meanwhile, Portugal reached 465 MW of cumulative registered PV capacity at the end of February 2018, according to the latest data from the Portuguese Directorate General for Geology and Energy. In the first two months of this year, no new PV was registered in the country. In 2016, new installations reached only 14 MW. In 2015 and 2014, newly installed PV capacity was 32 MW and 120 MW, respectively.

Most of Portugal’s installed PV power comes from residential and commercial PV installations. Of the cumulative PV capacity, in fact, 100.9 MW comes from microgeneration PV systems (up to 250 kW) and 72.5 MW from mini-generation PV systems (up to 3.68 kW).