Portugal Turns To Wind Farms To Reduce High Oil Dependency

Portugal plans to grant licenses by the end of the year for the construction of large-scale wind farms capable of generating 1,700 megawatts of energy, Economy Minister Manuel Pinho said July 18. The licenses are part of a plan unveiled in June to invest 25 billion euros (US$30 billion) in public and private money to upgrade infrastructure over the next four years, including 2.5 billion euros to develop renewable energy.

The government expects 900 million euros to be spent on the development of the wind farms, most of it directly from the private sector. The government expects the wind farms will create 1,600 direct and indirect jobs and will help the country reach the goal of generating 39% of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2010.

Portugal is one of the most dependent nations on oil in the 25-member European Union. Last year oil made up 58% of its primary energy consumption, economy minister figures show.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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