European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič arrived in Portugal on 17 July 2017 as part of the Energy Union tour. Vice-President Šefčovič met Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Minister for the Environment João Pedro Matos Fernandes and Secretary of State for Energy Jorge Seguro Sanches. He also met with actors from the financial sector, consumer associations, entrepreneurs and start-up owners and visited several clean energy innovative projects. The main focus of his discussions was the Energy Union and the Commission's “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, including Portugal's preparation of its National Energy and Climate Plan, as well as the Smart Finance For Smart Buildings Initiative and improving interconnections between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. During his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič attended an international conference on clean energy and energy interconnections and participated in an EU Citizens' Dialogue with the theme of the tangible impact of the Energy Union on European citizens. In Lisbon, the Vice-President wase accompanied by Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and Professor Bertrand Piccard, explorer and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation.
Ahead of the trip, Vice-President Šefčovič said:
I congratulate Portugal for becoming one of the EU's frontrunners in its usage of renewable energy. This is also helping it to decrease its dependency on energy imports from abroad. Moreover, new interconnections between Portugal, Spain and France could even help Portugal to become an exporter of renewable electricity. I also look forward to discussing low emission mobility and innovation with my Portuguese colleagues.
Portugal is represented in the Commission's High Level Group for South-West Europe, which seeks to further integrate the Iberian Peninsula's energy markets with the rest of Europe. Moreover, an Iberian Gas Market aimed at creating a single gas market covering Spain and Portugal has been in operation since the end of 2015. An EU-funded project is also underway to build a further gas interconnector linking Spain with Portugal. At present, all of Portugal's supplies of gas, oil and coal are imported. It can access gas from distant sources thanks to the liquid natural gas terminal at Sines on the Atlantic coast, which opened in 2003. Most of the country's gas currently comes from Algeria and Nigeria, most of its oil from Angola and Saudi Arabia and most of its coal from Colombia.
Portugal is likely to meet its target of a 31% renewable energy share by 2020. In 2015, more than half of the energy consumed in the country came from renewable sources (mainly hydro and wind power), while in May 2016 its electricity demand was met solely by renewable energy for four and a half days in a row. Portugal's high renewable energy share contributes to its strong performance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the country on track to significantly exceed its 2020 target.
As part of the 2017 Energy Union tour, the Vice-President previously visited the Netherlands, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. Upcoming dates and more information on the 2017 Energy Union tour are available here.