“The first tenders for solar energy will be defined between March and April, and then will be launched in June.” With that statement during an interview with Portuguese radio station Antena1, the nation’s minister of environment and the ecological transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, confirmed the long-expected launch of renewable energy auctions.
Matos Fernandes said for solar there will be two kinds of auction, for small-sized solar plants to which a fixed tariff will be granted, and for large-scale projects to which a feed-in premium tariff will be awarded. Referring to the latter, the minister said: “There is a group of investors that has the financial resources to develop projects without a fixed tariff.”
The fixed payment for smaller producers is intended to help them find a way to finance projects, Matos Fernandes added.
Private PPAs will dovetail with tenders
The minister said there are approved solar projects in Portugal amounting to 1.2 GW of capacity, of which 49 MW have already started commercial operation. At the end of August, the total capacity of approved PV schemes was around 1 GW and a further 1.7 GW worth of solar park projects were being reviewed by local environmental authorities.
Solar will be the energy source with the largest growth in future, Matos Fernandes said, adding PV technology can now deliver power prices in Portugal significantly below market prices.
Despite the fact auctions have not started, construction has begun on several “unsubsidized” solar parks in Portugal in recent months, giving a clear signal the private PPA segment may provide considerable growth along with tenders.
In early December, Matos Fernandes presented Portugal’s new energy strategy, which includes goals of meeting 80% of power demand with clean energy by 2030 and electrifying 65% of the economy by 2050.