photo by Somerset Bob (Flickr Creative Commons)

During a trip last month from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to its second largest city Porto, in the north of the country, I noticed a lot of wind turbines dotting the landscape. I’m not the only one either.

The New York Times published a piece yesterday on Portugal’s green makeover. Wind, hydro, solar and wave power are fueling the small Iberian republic’s move from fossil fuels to renewable energy – and they’ve got the resources to do it.

Few countries in Europe have these key ingredients: lots of wind and sun, suitable rivers and a coastline complete with powerful waves and ocean currents. These clean sources of energy will provide 45% of Portugal’s electricity this year. By 2025, other European nations – Denmark, Ireland and the UK – are expected to source at least 40% of their power from renewables.

That’s double of what is expected of the US.

Land-based wind power — this year deemed “potentially competitive” with fossil fuels by the International Energy Agency in Paris — has expanded sevenfold in that time. And Portugal expects in 2011 to become the first country to inaugurate a national network of charging stations for electric cars.

–New York Times

Since Portugal is low in fossil fuel deposits, but high in renewable resources, this transition hasn’t required a raise in taxes or public debt. What it has or currently imports in the form of gas, coal and oil are replaced by domestic clean power. It even exports a small amount of electricity to Spain.

Read more in the following two articles in New York Times by Elisabeth Rosenthal:

Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover

Beyond Fossil Fuels: Costs and Benefits

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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