Solar, €49 train tickets and home energy efficiency: Why Portugal is our Green Country of the Month

Here’s why Portugal is our Green Country of the Month.
Here’s why Portugal is our Green Country of the Month. Copyright AP Photo/Armando Franca
By Euronews Green
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Portugal has doubled its 2030 goals for solar and green hydrogen capacity. It’s also helping people to live and travel more sustainably.


July is on track to be the hottest month on Earth, as confirmed by the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Deadly heatwaves and wildfires across southern Europe have made painfully clear how little time remains to avert climate disaster.

With the clock ticking, the pressure is on European countries to get to net zero - not forgetting other crucial climate and biodiversity commitments along the way.

Each country has unique resources, so is carving its own route to a greener future. These are our previous Green countries of the month: Albania, Denmark, Iceland and Austria.

This month, we’re recognising the efforts of a country which has brought forward some crucial decarbonisation targets. It’s seeking to boost renewables, and help citizens on their own journeys to sustainable living.

Here’s why Portugal is our Green Country of the Month for July.

Portugal has raised its renewable goals

A hybrid power park with solar panels and wind turbines in Sabugal, Portugal, 2023.MIGUEL PEREIRA/REUTERS

As part of the EU, Portugal’s net zero by 2050 goal is enshrined in law. Its National Energy and Climate Action Plan 2030 is guiding this path towards climate neutrality - and (under an update requested by Brussels) it’s just got more ambitious.

A previous goal to reach 80 per cent renewable energy in its electricity production has been brought forward by four years to 2026. This should help Portugal reach net zero a few years earlier than planned: by 2045.

The country is powering ahead on certain renewable energy fronts already. Solar and wind produced over 50 per cent of Portugal’s electricity for the first time earlier this year.

“Portugal is entering the next stage of its energy transition,” Ember energy think tank analyst Matt Ewen said in May.

As a new statement from the Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action sets out, this next chapter will involve plenty more solar PV, as well as green hydrogen and onshore wind.

“We have reinforced the bet on solar photovoltaics, including decentralised production (such as Renewable Energy Communities),” the government says.

July also saw Portugal ramp up its offshore wind ambition - with a higher target for its first auction of offshore floating wind farm licenses later this year.

How is Portugal helping citizens to decarbonise?

AP Photo/Armando Franca
A child jumps trying to catch soap bubbles at a viewpoint overlooking downtown Lisbon, July 2023.AP Photo/Armando Franca

Reducing the cost of public transport is one of the easiest ways to help people cut their carbon emissions - and make their lives better (as all climate policies should).

Portugal will soon launch a new National Rail Pass, enabling people to take as many regional train journeys as they like for just €49 a month.

The scheme starts from 1 August, and is described by the government as a “low-cost and environmentally friendly transport solution that allows commuting with flexibility throughout the country.”

Another green crowd-pleaser is Portugal’s €100 million home energy efficiency pledge. This programme will fund up to 85 per cent of the investment needed to replace “non-efficient” windows on residential homes.

It will also help cover solar panel installations, thermal insulation, heating and cooling systems, and other equipment the Portuguese need to become more self-sufficient for energy and water.

Duarte Cordeiro, minister for the environment and climate action, said that applications will be accepted until the equivalent of three million square metres of ‘intervention area’ is reached.


What is Euronews Green's country of the month?

Each month we highlight a European country that is advocating for climate, nature and the environment. Our Green Country of the Month can stand out for anything from eco-innovations to policy change.

If you’re feeling encouraged by a European government-led initiative in August - please do reach out to us on social media, either on Instagram or Twitter.

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