Green Energy Revolution Transforms Portugal

In recent years Portugal has been harnessing its desirable southern European climate to benefit more than just its tourism industry.

As its government announces a package of austerity measures to meet its budget deficit-reduction plans, the country is touting a USP that it believes will save its economy.

"In the same way as Finland is famed for mobile phones, France for its high-speed trains and Germany for its industry, Portugal will become known for renewable energy," declared Manuel Pinho, the economy minister, last year.

Now, nearly 45 percent of Portugal's electricity will come from renewable sources, up from 17 percent just five years ago. Land-based wind power has amplified sevenfold in that time.

With latest contracts every week for national and international firms to work on new, cleaner power plants it seems that, on the surface at least, Portugal is eco-buying its way out of recession.

Portugal's small population helps in terms of ability and positive-sounding percentages of usability. However the small population also has the disaster of belonging to one of the poorest country in the European Union.

As the world's markets focus their attention on Lisbon, many residents have already left because of high costs of living that do not correspond to the low pay and pension rates. Living in a renewable-energy haven has become the slightest of their concerns.

"Solar must change from being an luxurious source of energy to one of solutions which will be able to compete directly with fossil fuel," said Wemans.

"We believe that a reduction in electricity tariffs is healthy - and essential."

As Portugal proves to the world its estimable goals, it still has to convince many of its own citizens of the benefits.
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