Portugal to speed up switch to renewable power in wake of Ukraine war

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Turbines of the WindFloat Atlantic Project, a floating offshore wind-power generating platform, are seen 20 kilometers off the coast in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, September 23, 2021. REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura/File Photo

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LISBON, April 1 (Reuters) - Portugal aims to accelerate its energy transition and increase the proportion of renewable sources by 20 percentage points to 80% of its electricity output by 2026, four years earlier than previously planned, the government said on Friday.

As part of a global shift away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, countries are betting on renewable energies such as wind and solar, a transition that is being accelerated in Europe after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The new Socialist government that was sworn in on Wednesday, said in its overall programme released on Friday that the energy plans should mobilize more than 25 billion euros of investment in the next 10 years, involving public and private players, incentives and financing.

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"Portugal has already taken very significant measures in the energy transition, but the evolution and duration of the war in Ukraine must necessarily imply new measures," Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a news conference.

The country, committed to become carbon neutral by 2050, currently gets 60% of its electricity from renewable sources - one of the largest proportions of green energy use in Europe.

Unlike central European countries, Portugal does not depend on Russian natural gas pipelines, as it mainly imports liquefied natural gas from Nigeria and the United States, and has not imported Russian crude since 2020.

The government also wants to "more than double the installed capacity of renewable sources in the next decade".

Portugal, which closed its two coal-fired power plants last year, has 7.3 GW of hydroelectric capacity and 5.6 GW of onshore wind parks, which together represent 83% of its total installed capacity.

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Reporting by Sergio Goncalves Editing by Andrei Khalip and Frances Kerry

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