Portugal -- Portugal has switched on the 240 MW Parque Eolico de Alto Mino, which is billed as Continental Europe's largest.
The site, which cost EU €361m to build, is equipped with 120 turbines and is operated by Portuguese wind power firm VentoMinho. It has an installed capacity of 240 MW.
The move comes as Portugal hopes 15% of its national energy consumption will come from wind this year and is confident it will “easily” meet its goal to have 20% of energy consumption stem from renewables in 2020.
“The park will significantly increase Portugal’s wind energy production,” said one industry observer, adding that wind power now accounts for 4% of the country’s energy consumption.
The inauguration marks a feat for Portuguese industry at a time of deep economic recession that may see the country bailed out by the EU.
A spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) confirmed the park is the biggest in “Continental Europe,” which excludes the UK and Ireland. Scotland’s 322 MW Whitelee farm is Europe’s largest. Portugal is saving EU €1bn a year in Co2 emission costs thanks to an ambitious renewables expansion in recent years.
This year, the country began building an offshore wind farm in the town of Povoa de Varzim and a solar power plant in Alentejo.
Portugal’s government has stated it will work to keep the country’s lead in the global wind energy space where it claims to be the fifth-largest producer, despite a deep economic recession.