May 17 (Renewables Now) - Portugal's Minister of the Environment, Joao Matos Fernandes, said the government will auction 1.35 GW of solar capacity now that the licensing regime has been changed to allow that.
The country's Council of Ministers has approved an amendment to the licensing process which changes the way new capacity is awarded, it was announced on Thursday. Up until now that depended on the availability of capacity on the network.
Under the new degree, aimed to simplify and shorten the bureaucracy in order to bring benefit to the consumers, power generation licenses will be awarded by auctions. As solar is one of the cheapest forms of green electricity production, the government will seek to contract it at prices below the market price for electricity.
In its five-year Global Market Outlook (GMO), SolarPower Europe projects that Portugal will add between 2.1 GW and 9.7 GW of solar capacity by 2023. It has less than a gigawatt currently but there are many projects in progress. The government said yesterday it wants to lift its solar capacity nine-fold, which would generate up to EUR 6 billion (USD 6.7bn) in investments by 2030.
Portugal aims to reach an 80% renewables share in power production by 2030 and to be carbon neutral in 2050.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.12)