"There is enormous potential for biomass in Portugal" – The Economic Journal

Lisbon was the world stage of biomass from May 27 to 30. Electricity produced from forest and agricultural waste was discussed by more than 1,500 delegates from 70 countries at the 27th European Biomass Exposition and Conference (EUBCE 2019) at the Lisbon Congress Center.

Maria da Graça Carvalho, Secretary General of EUBCE 2019 and MEP, highlighted the importance that biomass could have in the future in Portugal and in the world to combat climate change and "to achieve the objectives of the Agreement of Paris ".

"Biomass and waste accounted for about two-thirds of all renewable energy consumption in the European Union. In Portugal biomass is essentially used in the pulp industry. There is enormous potential for biomass in Portugal. The current state of biomass resources shows that the estimated total potential for various sectors of the country is 42,489 gigawatts/ hour per year ".

In addition to the importance of electricity production, the MEP elected by the PSD highlighted the relevant role that this sector could have in preventing forest fires. "The prevention of fires in Portugal also involves the economic valuation of the forest. Biomass is an important part of this recovery strategy. But for this will be necessary to create logistics for the collection of biomass and value chains for forest products, "he said.

But what is the forecast of biomass growth in the next years in Portugal? "An article in the"Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews"Of researchers from the University of Minho, the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre and INGI" predicts an "annual growth in installed biomass capacity of 5% and 1% in the case of energy production," he said.

The Government has already announced that it intends to close the two existing coal plants in Portugal by 2030. In this scenario, Maria da Graça Carvalho points out that biomass will be one of the solutions to replace coal.

"The solution to society's de-fossilization goes through a set of measures ranging from a strong energy efficiency component to the use of all available renewable energies, naturally having the biomass in general and the existing and planned biomass plants, very important role, "he said.

The European Commission announced in January this year that it will make available a total of 320 million euros to finance biomass power plants in Portugal for 15 years. However, MEP said that this amount will not be the only support available for the area of ​​biomass and bioeconomics.

"These support will be complemented by others, for example from the European Science Innovation Program, the Europa Horizon (2021-2027) which is in the final stage of negotiation between the Council and the European Parliament," he said.

"The budget allocation for the Horizon Europe program is not yet closed, but the European Commission proposed a value of 100 billion euros and the European Parliament 120 billion. It is also expected that a significant amount of the Program will be allocated to renewable energies and in particular to biomass and bioenergy, "concluded Maria da Graça Carvalho.

Article published in issue no. 1989, of May 17, Jornal Econômico

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