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Newsletter December 2019

Legal Updates

More advantages the production and self-consumption of renewable energy

The National Energy and Climate Plan for the horizon 2021-2030 set ambitious targets for Portugal, in particular with regards to increasing the use of energy from renewable sources.

In this regard, the Decree-Law no. 162/2019, which was published recently, has proceeded with the adoption of a new legal regime applicable to the self-consumption of renewable energy, transposing the EU Directive 2018/2001, and allowing the self-consumers – that is, the end consumers that are also producers of renewable energy – to produce, consume, store, share, and sell electricity without being faced with disproportionately high costs and unjustified obstacles, aiming to promote and spread the decentralized production of electricity.

A set of rights and duties of the self-consumer has also been declared, as well as obligations regarding the counting and making available of data. It is therefore expected that the approval of this regime will lead to an increase in the interest of natural and legal persons in the production of electricity for self-consumption and that it will generate challenges in its’ interpretation and application.

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Fund for the recovery of natural property

The Revive Nature Fund was created by Decree-Law no. 161/2019 of October 25, dedicated to the requalification and valorisation of dedicated public buildings inserted in natural heritage with high potential for tourist attraction, taking into account its purposes of origin and geographical specificities.

The aim is therefore to contribute to the creation of conditions for the enjoyment of areas still underused, strengthening tourist demand throughout the national territory and contributing to the permanence and improvement of the quality of life of local communities. In order to operationalise the programme, a special real estate fund is set up which brings together a set of property rights of the State or local authorities.

The Minister of State and Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, refers that the properties will be allocated to a Fund which will be managed by a public company. The properties will then be attributed via public tender to those who wish to exploit them for tourism, being expected that the Fund will have the financial capacity to assist in the recovery works that will be carried out by those who will explore these properties.

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Business Updates

Portugal is getting “Greener”

With an investment estimated at € 600 million, the Portuguese government plans to build a green hydrogen plant in Sines, in consortium with the Netherlands. This consortium will allow access to funds for Important Projects of Common European Interest and a huge boost to investment in green energy, i.e. energy produced from renewable resources, in order to reduce environmental damage.

The Government aims to submit in April, the project for the construction of a plant for the production of green hydrogen, that will be powered by a solar power station, and will have the ability to generate enough power for a fleet of buses to travel the 800 million Km per year, which translates into the production of about 160 million kg of hydrogen.

Unlike most countries in Europe, Portugal has a high energy production capacity at costs that make hydrogen viable and may therefore position itself as one of the leading producers and exporters of green energy throughout Europe.

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Europe's largest lithium refinery will be in Portugal

The creation of a lithium refinery in Portugal is increasingly becoming a reality. According to the statements made by Secretary of State João Galamba, the last unresolved issue is to reach agreement on where the refinery will be built. The government believes that the ideal location will be the Port of Leixões, due to its geographical characteristics.

The port is close to large lithium reserves and is a privileged entry point for lithium concentrates from other countries. João Galamba also stated that the government wants to launch a public tender for the installation of this industrial unit as soon as possible. Thus, the government will be expected to actively promote the award of this contract, since it intends to bring foreign investment and partnerships. In the last two years, the value of lithium has risen from 6 to 24 euros, due to increased production of batteries and electric cars.

In view of the large reserves of lithium in Europe, particularly in Portugal, and the value of this ore, lithium could be the oil of tomorrow.

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