Accelerating the use of renewable energy in Portugal |Nature conservation

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG) and the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) have entered into a groundbreaking partnership to support Portugal’s ambitious energy transition program. This strategic alliance combines environmental expertise, scientific research and stakeholder engagement to develop sustainable energy solutions for the country.

Under the newly signed MoU, partner organizations will work closely with all relevant Portuguese stakeholders, including Portuguese environmental NGOs, to identify optimal areas for solar and wind energy projects, while respecting ecological and cultural values. The resulting map aims to help Portuguese policymakers, public authorities, investors and developers meet the EU mandate to designate Renewable Acceleration Areas (RAAs) by February 2026.

Building on pioneering LNEG research published earlier this year, the project will implement TNC’s smart siting methodology already used in the United States, India, Croatia and the Western Balkans to accurately assess the Portuguese terrain to identify the best locations for energy-related projects solar and wind. These acceleration areas will be selected based on environmental suitability, technical feasibility and compliance with Portugal’s ambitious commitment to achieve 90% renewable electricity by 2030.

The project, which will end in early 2026, was launched during a February workshop to identify goals and potential barriers. The group stressed the importance of starting this work well in advance of the RAA deadline to enable high-quality public consultation and effectively prioritize EIA and national spatial mapping requirements.

Elif Gündüzyeli, Director of the Renewable Energy Program for Europe, TNC:

“Portugal has the opportunity to set the pace for accelerating the development of renewable energy sources in Europe, but it must act wisely to act quickly. We are excited to work with Portugal’s leading renewable energy and environmental authorities to help implement TNC’s smart siting methodology and ensure that the deployment of wind and solar energy is in harmony with priorities for nature and local communities.

Teresa Ponce de Leão, President of the Management Board of LNEG:

“Our country has excellent conditions for the production of renewable energy, but also for (eco)tourism, agriculture and other economic development opportunities. This is possible because Portugal also has valuable ecosystem services that need to be protected. We believe that this cooperation can help to harmonize both and thus accelerate a sustainable and just energy transition in our country.

Pedro Amaral Jorge, CEO of APREN – Portuguese Renewable Energy Association:

“As Portugal progresses on the energy transition path, defined at European level and reflected in Portugal’s National Energy and Climate Plan 2030, it becomes increasingly important to overcome any barriers to the installation of renewable energy in the country. One difficulty continues to be the slowness of permitting processes for renewable energy projects due to the lack of consensus on synergies for multiple use of territory. We believe that this partnership can help accelerate knowledge and acceptance and thus contribute to accelerating an energy transition that is designed to be rapid, just and effective, ensuring that Portugal seizes the opportunity to contribute to the country’s competitiveness and security.”


Notes for editors:

National Laboratory of Energy and Geology (LNEG) is a government research and development institution focused on meeting the needs of society and business. Its mission is to advance scientific knowledge, promote sustainable energy solutions and contribute to economic development. LNEG, as one of the institutes of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, is also an advisor to the government on its public policies. Key business areas include resource economics, solar – heat and power (PV and CSP), wind and ocean energy, energy in the built environment, smart cities, energy systems integration, bioenergy (biorefineries, biofuels, biomass), circular economy , biomass for Industry, Hydrogen, Materials for Energy, Geological Resources, Geology and Geological Risk, Mineral Technology and Geoinformation.

Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) is a non-profit association founded in October 1988. Its mission is to coordinate and represent the common interests of its members, promoting renewable energies in the field of electricity. APREN cooperates with official bodies and other similar entities at national and international level, constituting an instrument of participation in energy and environmental policies through the use and valorization of natural resources for the production of electricity, namely in the areas of hydro, wind, solar, geothermal energy, biomass, biogas and urban solid waste.