«One day, this Alcoutim sun will create the fuel that makes your cars run!». This “forecast” was made yesterday, Friday, by Filipe Silva, executive president of Galp, at the inauguration of this company's largest solar project in the national territory, which is already producing green energy in this municipality in the Northeast Algarve.
Galp's new energy park is made up of four photovoltaic plants – S. Marcos, Viçosa, Pereiro and Albercas -, which, between them, have 252.532 solar panels, installed in a total area of 250 hectares (discontinued), capable of producing, under ideal conditions, 144 MWp (megawatts peak) of energy.
The investment amounted to 70 million euros.
According to Galp, the energy that will be produced in this park will be “enough to supply 80 thousand families, avoiding the emission of 75.000 tons of CO2”.
And, despite this being the first park built by Galp in Alcoutim, the Portuguese energy giant's plans for this territory are far from being finalized, assured Georgios Papadimitriou, executive vice-president of renewables at Galp, during the session, which also featured the presence of Duarte Cordeiro, Minister of Environment and Climate Action.
«Alcoutim is linked to the future of Galp and the country. He is at the forefront of the energy transition. (…) Our work here is not finished. In reality, it is just beginning», said the member of the company's management.
Galp has in mind, from the outset, «an extension of 12 megawatts (MW). But, more important than that, it is here in Alcoutim that we are thinking about installing our first battery, of 5 MW and 20 megawatt-hours, proving that it is possible and that it adds value to have energy storage capacity close to the source» .
Georgios Papadimitriou also left the guarantee that the company is in this municipality «to stay and create value for this community», but also to involve it in the energy transition, an idea that was supported by Osvaldo Gonçalves, president of the Chamber, who highlighted the «Galp’s availability for intervention in Alcoutim in the social, tourism and civil protection areas».
«It is not every day that we have the opportunity to inaugurate, here in the municipality, an investment of this size, which, although it does not create many jobs, helps to keep young people in the municipality», said the mayor of Alcoutenejo, in his speech .
On the sidelines of the session, Osvaldo Gonçalves told the Sul Informação that, at this point in job creation, there is some way to go, since, for now, «part of the labor that is necessary for the operation of these parks has to come from outside».
«There is the possibility of us organizing ourselves, in terms of economic structure, to create these types of companies here in the municipality, particularly in forestry and panel cleaning, because these are occasional jobs. There are some companies here that provide this service, but not in sufficient numbers to meet demand», he believes.
Even so, the mayor has no doubts in stating that investments like the one inaugurated yesterday are “structuring for the municipality's economy”, although he stresses that the idea is not to “make Alcoutim a giant photovoltaic park”.
For Duarte Cordeiro, Minister of the Environment, the project that was inaugurated «is in line with the Government's priorities in relation to an energy transition that favors sovereignty, independence and autonomy, that provides electricity at competitive prices and, above all, that prevents greenhouse gas emissions. In a few words: our transition, cheap and sustainable».
Paula Amorim, chairman of Galp, considers that, with this park, the company «takes another step in the execution of its strategy of sustained growth in renewable electrical generation in Portugal».
In the future, Galp wants to take «these green electrons produced here» to Sines, which has «an inordinate need for electrons of this type», firstly to «decarbonize the fuel production process», but also to produce more sustainable fuels, « which will cause this sun to end up inside our deposits. This is the true energy transition Made in Portugal», concluded Filipe Silva.
Galp has eleven solar parks in operation or construction in Portugal and Spain. These assets will be responsible for producing around 2,4 TWh of renewable energy in 2023.
Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação