There is power! Portugal has the largest floating solar park in Europe

Experts agree that technically we could face a climate catastrophe today. We are held back by mental and political transformation. However, this does not mean that nothing is changing for the better.

The energy industry in Portugal has just entered a whole new dimension, where the largest floating solar park in Europe is being built. The area consisting of 12 thousand. The solar panels are compared to building Reuters like that of about four football pitches. This is quite an unfortunate combination, considering that, unlike the latter, the solar park has many advantages and is climate friendly.

And since we’re in one of the most overrated sports, as long as players continue to fly private jets for races and training camps, the carbon footprint issue won’t go away. Fortunately, Portugal is taking a step in the right direction. Miguel Patena, representing the company Energias de Portugal, responsible for the tender for the project, pointed out that on a floating farm it will be possible to save in the first place by obtaining electricity that is a third of that produced by an average gas-fired power station.

There is power!

By deciding to cooperate, Portugal is reacting not only to climate challenges, but also to ever-higher energy prices, the rise of which is observed, for example, in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. . It should not be forgotten that Spain’s neighbor is one of the countries least dependent on Kremlin resources on the Old Continent, but that does not mean that it does not feel the impact of global geopolitical reshuffles on his own skin.

Moreover, the Portuguese authorities seem to be serious about the need to switch to renewable energy sources and achieve neutrality. At the end of 2021, the country succeeded in completing the decarbonization started four years earlier, which places the Portuguese in a select group (including Belgium and Sweden) of coal-free societies.

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The renewable energy investment, which will be launched in July 2022 on Europe’s largest artificial lake at the Alqueva dam, is not the only such venture in the country. The Portuguese are building hybrid hydro-solar installations on other dams: Tabuaço, Cabril, Salamonde, Castelo de Bode, Alto Rabagão and Paradela – with a total capacity of 183 MW.

However, in terms of the ability to generate and store energy, Alqueva takes the podium. The panels there are capable of producing 7.5 GWh of electricity per year, and they will be supplemented by lithium batteries, storing 2 GWh. To this handful of numbers, let’s add one more. The new structure will meet the energy needs of 1,500 families in the surrounding municipalities (Moura and Portelu).

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Model?

The Portuguese are convinced that Alqueva can become a pioneer for similar activities carried out in Europe. In Poland, photovoltaic panels are floating, among other places in Łapina near Gdańsk.

Such solutions have long existed in other parts of the world. The leaders in their use are mainly the United States, China and other Asian countries, using both artificial and natural water reservoirs, but also those polluted and completely transformed by man.

Scientists claim that the latter is a particularly good choice when it comes to installing hydrophotovoltaics. Based on recent research studies abroad to assess the effects of floating farms on aquatic ecosystems, it is not yet possible to state with certainty that the farms do not present any disadvantages.

Although hydrologists point out that they improve the water balance by preventing evaporation, they can contribute to the development of biodiversity and prevent the proliferation of algae, but it should be remembered that their transport and assembly require disturbance of the natural habitats of organisms and can contribute to the deepening of seas or lakes in the deepest and hypoxic zone.

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