Portugal will auction between 3 and 4 GW of floating offshore wind energy

Portugal plans to carry out this summer its first auction of floating offshore wind power projects, with which it hopes to be able to produce between 3 and 4 gigawatts (GW) of energy in 2026, the Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition told Reuters. , Joao Matos Fernandes.

Within the framework of the abandonment of fossil fuels with high carbon emissions, countries are betting on new technologies to boost the generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Floating wind technology, considered the cutting edge of the offshore wind sector, is gaining traction in countries such as the UK, France and parts of Southeast Asia.

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

Matos Fernandes stated that the wind conditions in Portugal make this technology efficient and viable, and he is confident that it will help reduce electricity rates in the long term, as well as help the country meet its goal of being a net exporter of energy.

The Portuguese minister lamented that granting environmental licenses for large onshore wind farms is “increasingly complicated, due to the ecological footprint they always have”, but said Portugal could avoid this by using floating turbines in its deep coastal waters.

“Portugal wants to become a major exporter of renewable energy in the future and that is why it has to bet on offshore wind power,” he said in an interview.

Portugal, which closed its two coal 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, which has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, gets 60% of its electricity from renewable sources, and the minister believes it will reach 80% before the 2030 deadline.

Portugal currently 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.