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Government progress with Abrantes Technological Free Zone in the field of renewable energy (with audio)

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Expresso said the municipality of Abrantes will get a “technological free zone” (ZLT) dedicated to innovation in renewable electricity, and the design of this project will begin to be determined later this year. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate, Ana Fontura Gouveia, has created a working group whose mission is to propose the area designated for the installation of this project and its regulations, which includes several partners, including the municipality of Abrantes itself.

In an order signed on August 29 and published on Wednesday, September 13 in the “Diário da República”, the government official gives this new working group a period of approximately two months to obtain results: until October 31, this group will have to submit a report reporting its proposals for Abrantes ZLT This is news that the municipal mayor, Manuel Jorge Valamatos, told mediotejo.net “excellent news” and is in line with the incentives that the Just Transition Fund can offer.

Mayor Abrantes is satisfied with the creation of the ZLT as a compensation tool for the closure of the Pego coal plant. Image file: mediotejo.net

Audio | Manuel Jorge Valamatos, President CM Abrantes:

The working group for the definition of the area and the development of the regulation will include two representatives from the State Secretariat for Energy, one from the General Directorate of Energy and Geology, one from the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology and one from the Portuguese Environment Agency. In addition to the Abrantes room.

In addition to defining the implementation area of ​​the ZLT, the working group must propose operating regulations for this project and define the scope of its work, which must include the valorization of biomass from the Medio Tejo area, among other energy sources.

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“ZLT Abrantes is part of the ongoing just transition process within the scope of the decommissioning of the Pego coal-fired thermal plant, with the aim of contributing to the diversification, modernization and retransformation of the region’s economy,” the order stated.

The document also states that “testing and experimentation activities will be carried out on technologies, products and services that will determine the feasibility of innovative solutions.” “ZLT Abrantes therefore intends to be a center for attracting national and international talents and companies that promote the innovation ecosystem of which it is part,” the order adds.

The municipality of Abrantes still owns one of the country’s main electricity production centers, the Pego combined cycle (natural gas) plant, but in November 2021 it lost the coal plant, which had reached the end of its long-term sales contract. Power to the national electrical system, and loss of production license.

The towers will not be dismantled at the Peugeot factory in the foreseeable future. Image file: david pereira/mediotejo.net

The government then launched a tender for future exploration of injection capacity into the electricity grid, which was freed up with the deactivation of the Tejo Energia coal plant. The competition was won by Spanish company Endesa (which was a minority shareholder in Tejo), presenting a project that combined solar and wind energy, as well as battery production and green hydrogen.

Tejo Energia also competed in this tender with a proposal to convert the Pego plant into a biomass plant, but Endesa did not win.

To compensate Tigo Energia workers who lost their jobs with the closure of the coal plant, the government made available, from the Environment Fund, a budget of 3.5 million euros, for the period from 2021 to 2023. At the end of 2022, 872 thousand euros had been paid to just over a hundred former workers. They have not yet found a new job in the labor market.

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W/ Express

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