“In a farming region 125 miles southeast of Lisbon, General Electric’s GE Energy Financial Services unit is teaming up with PowerLight, a Berkeley (Calif.)-based solar-electric equipment maker, to build the world’s largest photovoltaic-generation project. The $75 million project, announced on Apr. 27, calls for construction of an 11-megawatt powerplant that will start operating next January, producing enough energy to light and heat 8,000 homes.
The Portuguese government is expected to award a contract this summer for the construction of more than $1.3 billion worth of wind turbines around the country, enough to provide power for 750,000 homes. And the world’s first commercial “wave farm,” which will generate electricity from ocean waves, is expected to start operation later this year off Portugal’s northern coast.
Generating electricity from the sun, wind, and waves also can help Portugal curtail greenhouse-gas emissions. Because of the country’s rapid economic development after its 1986 entry into the European Union, emissions increased almost 37% from 1990 to 2003, one of the fastest growth rates in the world. GE and PowerLight estimate that their photovoltaic project will reduce annual greenhouse-gas emissions by 30,000 tons.”