Portugal is a strongly energy dependent country. Renewables contribute for 17 percent to the total supply of energy, the main part of which comes from forestry residues. Biomass is used for heating purposes and more recently has been developed to supply electricity. At this stage important energy crops in Portugal are not known.
A. INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS
A.1. - POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROJECTS
At present there are no research programmes on biomass, nor is there an overall strategy. Researchers submit proposals for RE projects.
Three programmes - Energia, Regen and PedipII - are not specific to biomass but consider biomass-burning installations. These programmes support by means of investment subsidies and by allowing the sale to the grid of the electricity generated at prices common to other self-producers37.
There is no National Policy for biomass development. A National programme for RE, including biomass was recently initiated. Primary objectives of new energy policy are to reduce energy consumption and to develop RE. However the Ministry of Industry and Energy does not allocate funds to finance biomass projects. The National Plan for Environmental conservation prepared in 1994 is still under discussion.
A.2. - THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL AGENCIES
Governmental Organisations involved:
· The Office of the Director of Energy (DGE) makes decisions on matters pertaining to RE programmes and priorities. Targets however are not identified.
· The National Board of Scientific Research and Technology (JNICT) is in charge of co-ordinating research and defining priority programmes.
· Instituto Nacional de Englaria e Tecnologia Industrial (INETI) some of its researches deal with biomass aspects. The Ministry of Industry and contracts with the European commission as well as with industrial companies provides funding.
Non Governmental Organisations involved:
· CBE - Centro da Biomassa para Energia is a private non-profit organisation with the main missions of technological support and development. The EU financed 90% of its establishment. Its main activities consist in doing research on forest residues. The Centre can also provide support to small-scale biomass users. It supports actions launched by enterprises, research centres, and other organisations in promoting biomass.
Decree 189/88 allows the purchase by the national utility of energy produced by co-generation plants. This stimulated the use of biomass for electricity production. Wood working industries in particular benefited because they were able to sell electricity generated from wood residues.
Financial support for the use of the RE has been created within the framework of 1994 Energy Programme but the amounts are unknown.
The Government disposes until the end of 1999 funds from the second Community supporting table to develop infrastructure project related to energy production using RE. In 1998, the Secretary of the State for Energy made a public announcement concerning the creation of a "Green Tariff" that represents an important tool for the economical competitiveness of RE.
Wood fuel standards are not identified.
Portugal is highly dependent on imports for its energy supply. Interest in biomass, which appeared in the late 1980's, did not survive the change in Government. The absence political leadership and a badly organised forestry industry have prevented the development of bioenergy. There is no a specific RE budget. Researchers have to obtain funds from industrial partners and the EU.
37 AFB-NETT, Phase III, Final Reports, Dec. 1997