Portuguese government sets up task-force to fast-track solar investments

The Portuguese government has announced the creation of an ad-hoc task force for the fast-tracking of large-scale solar PV power projects.

In a document published in the country’s official journal on Monday, the government said that the new entity will be created within 15 days, and that it will be formed by the government official, Ana Lúcia de Jesus Costa Avelar Dia, two representatives of Portugal’s Directorate General for Energy and Geology (DGEG), and two representatives from the grid and distribution network operators.

The main mission of the task force, the government said in the document, will be to promote the analysis of all the procedures for the authorization of solar projects under the special regime and in the general remuneration regime, in particular, the issuance of information on the existence of reception capacity and the conditions of connection to the network, issued by the network operator to which the applicant intends to connect.

The new entity will also have to propose and implement the necessary mechanisms for the online availability of all the grid zones, informing in particular, their availability in terms of injection capacity and restrictions.

In a few words, the new entity will have to make sure that the rules for the selection of projects, which were issued by the government in early March, will be implemented. These provisions were aimed at selecting a first bulk of solar power projects among the high amount of project proposals submitted to the DGEG, which at the time had reached a combined capacity of 754 MW.

The draw mechanism developed by the Portuguese government is based on the following elements:

  • The application code, which corresponds to the register number of the first filing with Portugal’s Directorate General for Energy and Geology (DGEG);
  • The project’s capacity and its grid area;
  • The project’s technology; and
  • The grid capacity in the project’s location.

All of the submitted projects were conceived for the private PPA segment, the spot market or a combination of both options.

The first private PPA for a solar project in Portugal was signed in January for a 28.8 MW solar project located in Evora, currently under development by local company, Hyperion, which secured a 10-year PPA with local power distributor, Axpo Ibéria, a unit of Switzerland-based Axpo Group. Later in March, the project was acquired by French corporate and investment bank, Natixis.