By Len Port
Wind farms in Portugal are continuing to break records with more energy being generated on January 16 than on the previous all-time record day, October 17, 2023.
The energy produced from wind on January 16 accounted for 63% of Portugal’s total electricity needs, according to REN, the national grid operator. On the same day, wind together with other renewable sources generated 88% of the national and local electricity consumption. This is a highly laudable achievement when so many other countries are producing far less in the battle against climate change.
Worldwide, greater use of wind and solar energy as well as advancements in green hydrogen production, are vital in the transformation from fossil fuels. Wind energy is predicted to significantly increase in major countries, with Canada, the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom increasing their offshore capabilities.
Developing countries are also expected to follow Portugal’s example and rapidly adopt renewable energy policies. As in the major countries, much of this has been invigorated by more energy demand and heightened awareness of the destructive impacts of climate change.
Parts of Portugal and elsewhere in the European Union have been experiencing severe or extreme droughts. This has added urgency to an EU plan to promote water availability through management technologies, says the Portuguese Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes.
She reportedly presented a list of proposals at a recent meeting of EU Council agriculture ministers to implement measures such as reducing water loss in distribution systems, optimizing storage and transport infrastructures, reducing water for non-potable purposes in the urban, tourist, industrial, and agricultural sectors, and investing in desalination plants.
The European Commission will launch a Water Resilience Initiative in March. It will include a series of immediate actions and a public debate on achieving water resilience.
According to the European Drought Observatory, referred to in the Portuguese proposals, about 42% of continental Europe is in a state of warning and about 8% in a state of alert, with a particularly worrying scenario in the EU’s southern countries, which are plagued by prolonged water shortages.
Future measures are expected to be funded both by the EU Commission and by private companies. All this will be reassuring, especially to farmers, but also to ordinary domestic water users being threatened with reduced supplies and increased costs.
Len Port, born in Northern Ireland, worked as a news reporter and correspondent, mainly in Hong Kong and South Africa, before moving to Portugal many years ago.