The Portuguese government has promulgated a new decree on Monday, adopting exceptional measures to simplify permission procedure for renewable energy projects. The new rules are immediately effective for a period of two years.
Portugal has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. To attain the goal, the country aimed to accelerate its energy transition and expand the amount of renewable energy sources to 80% of total power generation by 2026, four years earlier than originally planned, the government said earlier this month.
Portugal currently derives 60% of its electricity from renewable sources, making it one of the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe.
Under Decree 30-A/2022, renewable energy developers are exempt from obtaining an operating license or an operating certificate for power plants, battery storage, and self-consumption production units, provided that the network operator confirms the existence of conditions for the grid connection of these facilities.
In addition, for generating plants, storage facilities, UPACs, and projects to produce hydrogen by electrolysis of water that are not located in sensitive areas, an environmental impact assessment is no longer required if the production process is free of hazardous materials and pollution, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the licensing entity.
The regulation further said that, in order to decrease analysis and decision timeframes, administrative bodies’ opinions and authorizations will be included in the environment impact assessment procedures.
It also makes it mandatory for projects to include proposals to involve local populations, such as the exploitation of traditional activities like sheep and chicken herding, nature and biodiversity conservation projects, the supply of electricity to energy communities or local industries, or resident population co-investment.
In addition to the above measure, current wind power generation centers may inject all of their output into the Rede Elétrica de Serviço Público, Portugal’s public grid, without administrative limitation on injection capacity, ensuring the highest feasible output depending on each generation center's installed power.