Portugal to auction 3-4 GW of floating offshore wind farms in summer


Turbines of the WindFloat Atlantic project, a floating offshore wind power generation platform, are seen 20 kilometers off the coast in Viana do Castelo, Portugal September 23, 2021. Picture taken September 23, 2021. REUTERS /Violeta Santos Moura/File Photo

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LISBON, March 16 (Reuters) – Portugal plans to hold its first auction of floating offshore farms this summer, which it hopes will be able to produce between 3 and 4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in 2026, said Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition Joao Matos. Fernandes told Reuters.

As part of a global move away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, countries are betting on new technologies to boost electricity generation from renewables such as wind and solar.

Floating wind technology, considered the final frontier of the offshore wind industry, is gaining traction in countries like Britain, France and parts of Southeast Asia.

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Although it is supposed to be more efficient than fixed-bottom offshore wind turbines, there are no commercial-scale projects in operation yet and costs are expected to remain high this decade.

Matos Fernandes said Portugal’s wind conditions made the technology efficient and viable, and hoped it would help reduce long-term electricity prices, as well as help the country reach its goal of being an exporter. net of energy.

He lamented that the environmental licensing of large onshore wind farms “is becoming more complicated, due to the ecological footprint they still have”, but said Portugal could circumvent this by using floating turbines in its deep coastal waters. .

“Portugal wants to become a major exporter of renewable energy in the future and must therefore bet on offshore wind,” he said in an interview.

Portugal, which closed its two coal-fired power plants last year, has 7.3 GW of hydroelectric capacity and 5.6 GW of onshore wind, which together represent 83% of its total installed capacity.

The country, committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, gets 60% of its electricity from renewable sources, and the minister estimates it will reach 80% before the 2030 target date.

Currently, Portugal only has a small 25 megawatt floating wind project off its Atlantic coast.

The European Union has 16 GW of installed offshore wind capacity and aims to reach at least 60 GW by 2030.

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Reporting by Sergio Goncalves Editing by Mark Potter

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