Chavez signs wind energy deal with Portugal

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed agreements with Portugal on Sunday for the development of renewable energy projects which he expects will one day replace his country’s dominant oil industry. Portugal, which has no oil or coal, has in recent times pioneered developments in solar and wind power.

"This type of energy is the future," Chavez said during a visit to a Portuguese factory making equipment for wind turbines. "We have to start getting ready for the post-oil era," he said in televised remarks during a daylong visit to northern Portugal.

Chavez said Venezuela aims to develop wind farm projects at four sites in the country. Details of the green energy agreement were not immediately available.

Chavez, who for years has maintained warm relations with Portugal, said its Socialist prime minister, Jose Socrates, had asked him to visit and that global economic troubles were a reason for boosting trade between the two nations. "At a difficult time for Portugal, we are extending it both our hands," Chavez said.

Plans have been announced in Venezuela regarding the construction of 1,500 MW of wind power by 2015 and for the development of small hydraulic and solar energy.

Venezuela is getting its first ever wind farm, according to the country’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDV). The wind farm is expected to produce up to 100 MW when it begins to operate at full capacity.

The Venezuelan oil company added that it is in the process of importing 24 wind turbines from Spain’s Damesa in an effort to increase the renewable energy production in the country.

Venezuela’s energy authorities and the Association of Wind Energy proposes to install in the country for the next 15 years, 10 thousand megawatts of wind power generation. Also, the National Executive works in the incorporation of solar energy through photovoltaic cells in isolated areas of the country.