Portugal’s national colors are green and red – and while the red might very well stand for wine, the green half is becoming more linked to renewable energy. Today, Portugal is a world leader in alternative energy production, a big accomplishment for a small country. And its investment is not only helping grow the economy, but it is powering a booming tourism industry.
In 2016, 58% of all power produced in Portugal came from renewable sources. That was an increase of 8% over the previous year. Portugal has vast wind facilities and solar arrays, and not a single nuclear plant. In comparison, about 15% of the energy generated in the US is from renewable sources.
With that boom has come a huge growth in electric cars. In 2010 Portugal led the world with its electric vehicle-charging network. The current government made electric cars a priority to reducing oil imports. Electric cars are domestically powered, versus gas powered cars that run on foreign fuels.
Portugal’s vast charging network will get 124 more chargers this year, adding to the already in use 1,076 chargers. In 2018 an additional 404 chargers will come on line. The US, in comparison has 16,520 charging stations, according to the Us Department of Energy. Portugal is about the size of Maine.
Today charging on the public network is free until the end in 2017 when the charging network will be fully operational. And every station is on the same network, so one smartcard works in every charger.
The Portuguese government launched a new energy policy approach in 2001 called the E4 Program to create an integrated approach to energy supply and demand. By promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources E4 boosted the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy and reducing gas emissions.
Back in February 2016, 95% of electricity consumed in Portugal came from renewable sources such as biomass, hydropower, wind power and solar. A total of 4139 GWh was produced by these sources. In May 2016, all of Portugal's electricity was produced renewably for a period of over four days, a true achievement for a European country.
The Portuguese government is also planning to provide a new framework for the development of large-scale solar projects.
This is good, as Lisbon just hosted the tech world at its second Web Summit attracting 60,000+ people from more than 170 countries – and all those smartphones took a lot to power to charge.