€80 million given to Portugal to close polluting plants

in News · 28-02-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

The European Commission has proposed that Portugal close the Sines and Pego thermoelectric plants and the Matosinhos and Sines petrochemical complexes in a bid to reduce pollution, with the country to then receive €80 million.

The plan is part of the proposal for the Fair Transition Fund, created by the European Commission to support the dismantling of polluting industries and the decarbonisation of regions dependent on fossil fuels, under which €79.2 million is to be allocated to Portugal.
In the proposal, which is part of the winter package for the European semester, Brussels points out that, “in Portugal, there are still two coal-fired power plants: in the regions of Alentejo Litoral (municipality of Sines) and Médio Tejo (in Pego, municipality Abrantes) ”.
According to the community executive, these thermoelectric plants “are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Portugal”, adding to these “the highly polluting industries of the production of oil products and plastics, also located in Sines and Matosinhos ”.
The Portuguese Government had already announced, last October, that it was prepared to close the Pego thermoelectric plant at the end of 2021 and to stop production at the Sines plant in September 2023.
Estimating that the closure of these thermoelectric and petrochemical plants could result in the loss of 650 jobs (350 in Sines, 200 in Pego and 100 in the port of Sines), the Commission proposes that the country “concentrate its intervention in these regions, within the scope of the Fund of Fair Transition”.

The European Commiss-ioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, noted that “Portugal does not have major problems in terms of the use of coal mines, as many of the [EU] countries do, but there are other problems whose solution can be facilitated through this mechanism”.
“In the Portuguese case, there are still some industries [...] that have very strong emissions of greenhouse gases and for these regions and zones, a transition plan needs to be made”, explained Elisa Ferreira.
The official said that the fund aims to provide technical and financial support, for creation and investment in small and medium-sized companies, training of human resources, transfer of workers and the introduction of technology for cleaner sources of energy.
According to Elisa Ferreira, the proposal is still “subject to negotiation”.
“The Commission, for all EU countries, selected these regions and makes its proposal, but it is clear that there may be adjustments resulting from negotiations with the countries”, she reinforced.
Elisa Ferreira admitted that the final amounts allocated to each country are dependent on the negotiations for the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, which are taking place at the European Council, but she said she hoped that the programmes would start on 1 January next year.
Portugal is expected to be allocated 1.1% of the total amount of the Fair Transition Fund, which is €7.5 billion.
The Fair Transition Fund can only be used by countries in combination with Cohesion funds (European regional and social development), in addition to national co-financing for each project.


There must be new industries, such as clean energy wind or wave power to replace both jobs and the electricity required. I hav3 to dispute the statement that these industries are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Portugal. The real culprit is forest fires and ignorant burning of waste instead of recycling. Fires are rapid-release CO2 events and they happen too frequently. There is not enough reforestation, and trees take time to mature enough to sequester carbon effectively. Land reform is urgently needed to plant large,diverse forests of native species instead of timber crop plantations. Land not inhabited for more than 5 years, where owners can’t be traced should be nationalized and devoted to forestation and soil renewal. Industries need to clean up their act, but that includes the free-for-all mess of individuals and companies that currently is growing and destructively harvesting tree crops like water-guzzling eucalypts

By Jude Irwin from Beiras on 02-03-2020 09:18
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