Portugal to launch second 700 MW solar auction in January


“Galamba guarantees that a new auction for solar power plants does not touch the rights of anyone.” With that tweet, linked to an interview with Portuguese newspaper Expresso, Portugal’s state secretary for energy João Galamba ‘returned to sender’ criticism a procurement auction planned for next month would enable new renewable energy projects to jump the queue of schemes waiting to secure generation capacity.

In the interview, Galamba said the methodology adopted for the auction is “more rational and appropriate” as it will end a “random” licensing process in force until the middle of this month, when legislative changes were made through provisions included in the Decreto-Lei 172/2019. That legislation has been approved by the Council of Ministers and must now be promulgated by the president. “The great advantage of the auction is to value the merits of each project,” said Galamba.

Second auction planned for January

Meanwhile, Portuguese website Noticias ao Minuto stated Galamba revealed at a recent conference there will be “as many auctions as network points”.

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Galamba reportedly said the next solar energy auction will be held in January and around 700 MW of capacity will be assigned. However, the capacity of next month’s auction was scaled back from 1.75 to 1.35 GW.

The June’s procurement, the main points of connection to the grid will be in the municipalities of Portalegre, Estremoz and Castelo Branco, all in southern-central Portugal.

In February, when the first details of the auction were announced, the Portuguese government approved a €535 million plan to make its grid strong enough to absorb more intermittent renewable energy up to 2027 – the Plano de Desenvolvimento e Investimento da Rede de Transporte de Eletricidad.

In late January, the minister said Portugal had a pipeline of around 1.2 GW of approved projects, with 49 MW already in commercial operation. To overcome grid constraints – the biggest hindrance for solar energy development – the government in March 2018 adopted a draw mechanism for project selection. Those rules proved to be ineffective.

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