Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
Despite Portugal's considerable technical wind potential - estimated to be approximately 700 GWh/yr - the country has been slow to utilise it for the production of electricity. However, in recent years, because of a lack of indigenous energy resources and a high dependence on imported fuels, the Government has legislated for electricity to be increasingly produced from renewable energies and in particular wind. The targets for wind power to supply electricity generation are 3 750 MW by 2010 and 5 100 MW by 2013.
The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira both have a high wind energy potential and it was in these islands that the first wind parks were established at the end of the 1980s/beginning of the 1990s.
With the favourable climate that has been created by the new policies, installed operational wind capacity in mainland Portugal and the islands at end-2005 stood at 1 063 MW, a quadrupling of the 2003 capacity. A majority (some 98%) is located on the mainland but the Azores and Madeira have a small number of wind turbines. A significant increase was again demonstrated in 2006 with capacity growing by over 60%. Whilst a proportion of capacity is grid-connected, the Government mounted a drive for more grid-connection of wind farms in 2005.
A measure to promote competition in the power market, the Iberian Market on Electric Energy (MIBEL) - linking the power systems of Portugal and Spain - has experienced many delays since the protocol was signed by the two countries in 2001. Originally, operation of MIBEL was scheduled for January 2003 but the electricity derivatives market finally began to operate only on 1 July 2006.
Study of the country's offshore wind resource is currently being undertaken, as although it does not have the same potential as in northern Europe, it is nevertheless considered that further research is warranted.