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New national legislation on renewables and hydrogen economy

New national legislation on renewables and hydrogen economy
alarmPublication date: 02 February, 2023Category: National News

This autumn and winter important legislative instruments were published to promote renewable energy and the hydrogen economy in Portugal.

These are 3 diplomas in different aspects: (i) targets related to the consumption of energy from renewable sources, (ii) implementation of projects and initiatives for the production and storage of energy from renewable sources and (iii) establishment of the centralized purchase system for renewable gases (biomethane and hydrogen).

Thus, on 9 December, Decree-Law No. 84/2022 was published, which sets targets for the consumption of energy from renewable sources, partially transposing the Directive (EU) 2018/2001. The implementation of electricity generation units from renewable sources in Portugal, falls within the national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provided for in the National Plan Energy and Climate 2030 (PNEC) and the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RNC2050). The new targets for the incorporation of renewable energy into the final energy consumption, set out in the aforementioned Decree-Law, are even more ambitious and go beyond those set out in the PNEC and the RNC2050. Now the country’s overall target for renewables is 49% for 2030, two percentage points above the commitment inscribed in the PNEC. Intermediate objectives were also stipulated, which include reaching renewable incorporations in final consumption of 34% by 2024, 40% by 2026 and 44% by 2028.

On 19 October, with the publication of Decree-Law no. 72/2022, the first amendment to Decree-Law no. 30-A/2022, of 18 April, was made, introducing exceptional measures for the implementation of projects and initiatives of production and storage of energy from renewable sources. The new legislation aims to strengthen administrative simplification, highlighting in particular the case of projects with power below 1MW not being subject to prior control. In the case of projects with a capacity above 1MW, municipalities may only reject the deployment of renewable energy power plants if 2% or more of municipal territory is already occupied with such plants, and if the project has not been subject to a favorable or conditioned favorable environmental impact statement. The rejection cannot, therefore, be made for reasons of negative impact on landscape.

Already this year, on 4th January, Ministerial Order no. 15/2023 was published, establishing the centralized procurement system for biomethane and hydrogen produced by electrolysis from water, using electricity from renewable energy sources, for injection into the national gas grid, in specific quantities: Biomethane 150 GWh/year (base HHV) and Hydrogen 120 GWh/year (base HHV). The ministerial order also determines that the contracts will have a duration of 10 years from the date of the first supply. Until 30th June 2023, the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology will publish the announcement of the opening of the competitive procedure for the acquisition of the referred quantities.

LNEG works towards the achievement of national objectives in the energy transition, in terms of the implementation of renewable energies and energy efficiency, thus contributing to a decarbonized economy.