Associação Portuguesa de Energia is a non-governmental, non-profit charity, aiming to promote sustainable energy, through reflection, debate and targeted initiatives, which will improve the energy sector’s contribution to the Portuguese economy and quality of life. The Association is the national member committee of the World Energy Council, and has among its constituent members the main energy operators, industries and services companies.
Jorge Cruz Morais is the Chair of the Portuguese Energy Association, the national member committee of the World Energy Council. He holds a degree in electrical engineering (Instituto Superior Técnico, 1980) and a MBA (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1988). He began his career at EDP, in 1983, in Grid Distribution Development. He was a non-Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Turbogás (1998-2000), and of Electricidade dos Açores (1999-2000) and Board Member of the Centre for Energy Conservation (1993-1996). Between 2000 and 2004, he was an Executive Member of the Board of Directors of ONI SGPS and other companies in the ONI Group, having assumed the function of CFO between 2002 and 2004. In 2005 and 2006 he was the CFO at HC Energia and Naturgas Energia (both EDP Group). From 2006 until February 2012 he was an Executive Member of the Board of Directors of the EDP Group. Since February he has been the President of EDP Internacional and General Manager of the EDP Group.
Bento de Morais Sarmento was appointed Executive Secretary of the Associação Portuguesa da Energia, the Portuguese Member Committee of WEC, in October 2010. He holds degrees in Chemical Engineering (Instituto Superior Técnico, 1968) and Refining Engineering (Institute Français du Pétrole, 1973) and a MBA (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1986). He was appointed deputy-chairman at the Energy Emergencies Planning Board from the Ministry of Industry and Energy in 1986. He has also served as deputy director-general at the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology. He has been representative at several energy related international committees, namely at NATO, IEA and EU and participated in a few international missions.
Energy in Portugal
In this year’s Portuguese Issues Monitor map, energy leaders gave particular importance to critical issues of three kinds: political (EU Cohesion); operational (Electric Storage); and digital (IoT/ Blockchain).
Political changes in Europe put stress on EU Cohesion, the most obvious one being Brexit, which impacts trade and adds uncertainty to investments. Energy leaders are worried about slowing economic growth in the European region, potentially affecting trade and reducing energy demand.
The increasing share of variable renewable sources and distributed generation will require an increase of energy storage capacity to cope with both high and low generation periods. In addition, the emergence of prosumers is bringing the need of storage to the distribution and low voltage network level. Hydro storage is not available everywhere, and there is public resistance to new projects due to ecological and social impacts. Other storage technologies still face economic challenges. Therefore, decisions on storage investments still look out on high uncertainty.
Similarly, the Portuguese energy system is undergoing a digital transition and companies are adapting systems, equipment and operations to accommodate increasing data volume and to add interactive functions to their services. However, the extent and size of impact of these processes remains uncertain.
In the Action Priorities domain, Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency appear with very low uncertainty, showing that these two issues are already considered as stable business investments.
Innovative Transport has moved from the critical issues to the action priorities quadrant. This reflects the government’s electrification policies, the development of the recharging network for electrical vehicles that is expanding to petrol stations in the main road itineraries, the new business opportunity for the power suppliers and the participation of the manufacturing industry in the innovation of related equipment.
EU Cohesion is the issue which gets the highest attention in this year’s map and appears particularly isolated in the Critical Uncertainties quadrant. It is interesting to note that in relation to last year’s map, EU Cohesion has shifted significantly to a greater uncertainty and a greater perceived impact. This may reflect existing concerns, particularly in relation to the impact of Brexit on business, investment and on economy drivers, such as tourism.
The IoT/Blockchain issue is felt as becoming less uncertain, but it remains a Critical Uncertainty. There is a perception that this technology is on its way to become a management instrument for the energy system and businesses; but the transition is being gradual and not as sudden as expected.
Electric Storage remains in the same position as in last year’s map. Storage is a tool which has been utilised for a long time, mostly for hydro power. Hydro storage is a conventional and proven technology, but it is also subject to rainfall variability, environmental and social impacts. Other energy storage technologies need to become economically viable to cope with the increasing share of renewable generation, including solutions at low distribution voltage level.
Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency show a similar behaviour in relation to their positions in last year’s map. Both remain very certain, but their impact has reduced in comparison to last year. This must not be interpreted as a decline in their importance. Indeed, these issues have become a part of the system and are no longer considered as new factors affecting the system.
Innovative transport appears with a lower uncertainty rating in comparison with last year’s map, but it has maintained approximately the same impact. This may be interpreted as the recognition that electric vehicles (EV) will become dominant, but at a pace that will not cause a sudden impact in the medium term. In fact, the share of the EV remains low, the charging infrastructure and the vehicles’ autonomy are still limited, and the price is still high. In this context, the transition is expected to be gradual.
Portugal is well positioned in its Energy-Climate agenda policy and aiming to meet the ambitious 2030 and 2050 targets. Portuguese companies and research centres are responding to the Energy Transition, adapting processes, investing in innovation and supporting start-up programs.