IEA cautiously backs Portugal in aims to achieve economically stable energy system by 2020

 Speaking at the launch of an IEA review of Portuguese energy policies, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol encouraged Portugal to maintain efforts to resolve the so-called tariff deficit vcaused by past imbalances between the electricity system’s regulated costs and revenues from regulated tariffs. 

“Portugal has made some difficult choices,” Dr. Birol commented, “but to maintain investor confidence, Portugal must also closely follow the principles of transparency, predictability and certainty if the country wishes to continue to remain attractive to further investment in the energy sector.” Eliminating the tariff debt by 2020 is a significant challenge, the IEA report adds, but Portugal must remain on the path towards a financially viable energy system. 

The IEA Executive Director praised the government for increasing renewable energy deployment, especially wind power, which provided almost a quarter of electricity generated in 2015. The IEA also welcomed Portugal’s updated energy strategy, which places greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency activities but also focuses on efforts to lower investment costs and strengthen national competitiveness. 

The IEA also urged Portugal, with its regional partners Spain and France and alongside the European Commission, to reinforce interconnections with transnational European electricity and natural gas networks. The first new interconnection between the Iberian Peninsula and France in almost three decades was inaugurated just over a year ago, and more capacity is being planned. “After decades of limited results, the IEA is pleased to see movement in the right direction, but these are only first steps,” said Dr. Birol. “More interconnection capacity is needed for such efforts to show their full value to Portugal.”

The IEA report welcomes Portugal’s progress in energy efficiency and the adoption of ambitious energy savings targets but highlighted that task-sharing and co-ordination between government bodies must be clear to ensure full and effective monitoring of energy efficiency results. The report highlights the need for greater flexibility in energy policy to deal with uncertainty and also called for closer monitoring of policy implementation.

Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Portugal 2016 Review is available for free download here

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