Portugal Goes In For Environmental Licensing Reform

With Simplified Environmental Licensing, Portugal Accelerates Decarbonization Efforts; Joins Spain & France To Launch Green Hydrogen Corridor For Europe

Portugal Goes In For Environmental Licensing Reform

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa (in the picture) has simplified environmental licensing for renewables in the country through a new legislative package. (Photo Credit: Government of the Portuguese Republic)

  • Portugal has brought in a new legislative package to simplify environmental licensing for renewable energy projects
  • For solar projects occupying less than 100-hectare space, there is no mandatory EIA now
  • No need to renew environmental license after 10 years as was the case till now
  • These measures will reduce bureaucracy, further decarbonization of economy, cater to growing demand for energy and accelerate renewable energy projects
  • Portugal, Spain and France have also launched a green hydrogen corridor, a 1st for Europe to produce, consume and export the fuel produced with renewable energy in the Iberian Peninsula, especially solar

The Government of Portugal has come out with a new legislative package called Ambiente+Simples to ease environmental licensing for renewable energy projects, one of which includes elimination of mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) for solar power plants and inverters occupying less than 100-hectare space.

The no EIA clause has also been put in place for projects that need equipment to be replaced with or without changing the installed capacity, but certain terms and conditions apply.

Case-by-case analysis for production of solar energy from projects with an installed area of less than 15 hectares is eliminated under the new package. Same rule applies for PV projects that are located at least 2 kms from similar projects of over 1 MW capacity and for those that need to be grid connected using a 60kV line and with an extension of less than 10 kms.

In addition, the administration has nullified the need to renew environmental license which till now needed to be renewed every 10 years.

The government has also waived off EIA for green hydrogen projects. Details of the legislative package are available on the government website.

According to Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, these measures are aimed at increasing the pace of decarbonization of the economy with renewable energy and also to bring down bureaucratic hurdles for their advancement by simplifying procedures.

Renewable energy share in the Portuguese energy mix in 2021 had reached 59%, and it aims to grow it to 80% by 2026, for which Costa said the country needs to accelerate its capacity to produce renewable energy. It will also be an enabling factor to generate green hydrogen and green ammonia for hard-to-abate sectors. Simplifying procedures will help address increasing demand for electricity.

The ruling follows Portugal easing permitting processes for solar projects and increasing compensation for solar projects awarded in 2019 and 2020 (see New Laws To Speed Up Solar Plant Construction In Portugal).

In a related development, Portugal, France and Spain have announced an energy interconnection project—the 1st large green corridor linking the Iberian Peninsula to the French city of Marseille—called H2Med to exclusively transport green hydrogen.

Calling the Iberian Peninsula one of the best places in Europe to develop renewable energies at a lower cost, especially with solar, Costa added, “This significantly changes the paradigm, because in addition to being simply importers and re-exporters of energy, we are also starting to strengthen our position as producers and exporters of energy for the whole of Europe.”

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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