• Expresso newspaper in Portugal says REN is in receipt of 80 GW of new  renewable energy capacity requesting grid connection
  • Of around 400 such requests received, most of these relate to solar PV projects
  • The government has advised REN to prioritize eligible projects on the basis of their viability and quality, including proof of land availability
  • Government also plans to share details about new renewable energy auction in the country by March 2020

The Portuguese electricity system operator Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) has received around 400 requests for grid connection for renewable energy power plants that add up to a whopping 80 GW, with solar PV projects comprising the major part. This was shared by the Portuguese Secretary of State for Energy, João Galamba with newspaper Expresso.

This 80 GW is several times higher than the entire installed power capacity of Portugal that stands at 22 GW, a country that used energy produced by only 11.8 GW in 2018, the report adds.

As a result, REN was forced to turn to the government to provide criteria for ranking eligible projects regarding quality and viability.

Galamba said the government has given some more time to the companies that have applied for grid connection to submit all relevant documents, proving availability of enough land for PV plants specifically. Priority will be given to those that combine their renewable energy project with battery storage.

This sudden interest in installing large scale solar in Portugal can be attributed to quickly decreasing costs of solar. In the 2019 solar auctio the lowest winning bid of €14.76 per MWh was achieved, 67% lower than the tariff cap of €45 per MWh (see Portugal Awarded 1.15 GW Capacity In Solar Auction). While most experts believe this is too low to be profitable for the winning developer, even the somewhat higher tariffs offered are very competitive.

Portugal aims to cover 100% of its power demand with renewable energies by 2050 to achieve carbon neutrality. In the interim the target is to have 80% renewable energy in the mix by 2030.

According to REN statistics, till January 2020, renewables contributed 67% of national electricity consumption in Portugal led by hydro power with a 36% share, followed by 24% from wind, 5% from biomass and 1.2% from PV. As per SolarPower Europe, till the end of 2018, Portugal’s PV installed capacity was 550 MW (see SolarPower Europe: 800 GW New PV By 2023). 

Expresso also quoted Galamba as saying the government plans to share details of the new renewable energy auction by the end of March 2020.