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Portugal Tops in Renewable Energy Race

Think the United States is gaining ground when it comes to renewable energy sources? Portugal’s success might make you think again.

By the end of 2010, this top contender will be satisfying 45% of its energy needs from renewable sources—up a massive 17% from a mere five years ago. How did they do it, exactly? Portugal privatized energy utilities and opened up the energy sector to market forces. In addition, they pushed for better technology and put in motion a nationwide energy policy.

Once they implemented a smart-grid system, they were able to rely on several different types of renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro, renewables in people’s homes, and a very small amount of natural gas.

The money for such a large undertaking came mostly from the private companies that took over the energy sector and the fees paid by consumers. Electricity costs have risen 15% as a result, but on the plus side, the state hasn’t acquired any debt in the process.

As we begin to experience rising energy costs in our own country, people might just start questioning why we don’t have the same options when it comes to renewable energy sources. Hopefully, these changes are just on the horizon.

Source: openalex
Photo: Wind Power Monthly

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