The headquarters of REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, S.A. were targeted by acts of vandalism on two separate days this week, carried out under the pretext of defending the planet from the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels. This way of expressing convictions is criminal, endangering people and property, and disrespects our freedoms and the laws that regulate our society.
REN strongly condemns all acts of violence and the manipulation of facts that cloud what should be an open, honest, and transparent debate about one of the great challenges Humanity is facing. For several years, REN has been at the centre of changes that have placed Portugal at the forefront of decarbonising the economy.
It was the assurance of security of supply provided by the company to policymakers that allowed the early closure of coal-fired power plants, moving the timeline from 2030 to 2022.
Moreover, it has been the continuous investments in infrastructure that enable the current average incorporation of renewable energy in the electricity sector, which is around 60%.
Portugal ranks fourth among European countries with the highest share of renewable energy production. If it weren't for consecutive drought periods and the usual contribution from hydroelectric production, Portugal would undoubtedly be among the top three, given that the country already leads in the percentage of energy from solar and wind sources.
In 10 years, installed solar power has increased nearly sevenfold; in 2022, the total installed renewable power represented almost twice the peak consumption recorded in the country. Energy transition is a long journey that requires continuous efforts, and cannot be achieved through disruptive actions that jeopardise the country's energy supply.
Therefore, REN will continue to invest in making Portugal greener, planning to build more than 2,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 10 substations in the next three years to integrate energy generated from renewable sources emerging in various parts of the country. Electricity from renewable sources is also causing a decrease in natural gas consumption for power generation, down by 39% in 2023 compared to the average of the last five years. However, to ensure security of supply, retaining natural gas as a safeguard is vital, especially in situations where renewable sources cannot satisfy the entire national demand, as occurred during the drought in 2022. This fuel is vital for the industry, which accounts for two-thirds of the country's natural gas consumption.
Decarbonising this sector presents significant challenges that must be addressed without adversely affecting the national economy. We are also working towards decarbonising the gas sector, with plans to progressively replace it with hydrogen. Following the guidelines of successive governments, decarbonising the economy has been a fundamental focus in how REN manages the concessions for State Public Service, which owns the electricity transmission, natural gas transmission and storage infrastructures, and in the future, green hydrogen.
Over the years, Portugal has made significant progress on the path to carbon neutrality. REN takes pride in the central role it plays in this national effort to protect the planet, while never losing sight of its primary obligation: to ensure the security of supply that keeps the country running smoothly.