Spain and Portugal to set up a joint Renewable Energy Research Center
Spain and Portugal will set up a joint renewable energy research center, the leaders of both nations said last Thursday in a bilateral summit. The Iberian Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CIERE, by its initials in Spanish) in the southern Spanish city of Badajoz – near the Portuguese border- will help the two nations improve their expertise in this area, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates said.
The center will be headed by Portugal’s Antonio Sa da Costa, the current vice president of the European Renewable Energy Federation. The governments of both nations have made it a priority to boost spending on training and technology to make their economies more competitive. Portugal, which is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, aims to collect 45 percent of its total power consumption from renewable sources like solar and wind power by 2010. Spain aims to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020. It is already the second largest producer of wind power in the European Union.
The CIERE will work in close cooperation with the private sector on industrial and technological issues related to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Biomass and overcoming the challenges to develop electric cars will be among its priorities.
The two governments also cited their satisfaction with the current growth of electrical interconnection projects between the two countries. Said projects will put the interconnection power capacity at 400 MW by 2010, and add 1,300 MW more by 2013 or 2014, considering further projects down the pipeline, to reach a total of 3,000 MW. Spain and Portugal thus become a reference in Trans-European Energy Networks, a cherished EU objective.
This step is a necessary pre-requisite for the implementation of a single Iberian electriciy market (MIBEL) agreed upon in 2004 and that will be definitively set up next June.
Socrates also re-affirmed that both nations aim to have a high-speed rail link between Lisbon and Madrid, and another between the Portuguese capital and Vigo in northern Spain, completed by 2013.
The Spanish government plans to have 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of high-speed railway track in place by 2020, meaning 90 percent of Spain’s population will live less than 50 kilometers from a bullet train station.