Iberdrola and Prosolia receive environmental permit to build Europe’s largest solar power plant in Alentejo, with 1.2 gigawatts

Iberdrola and Prosolia have received the green light from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) to proceed with what will be the largest solar photovoltaic plant in Europe, a 1.2 gigawatt (GW) project to be built in Santiago do Cacém. The investment will be around 800 million euros.

“Iberdrola has received the environmental permit for the construction of the largest photovoltaic project in Europe and the fifth largest in the world in Portugal. With 1200 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, it will be an example of strict adherence to all environmental requirements. It will be located in the municipality of Santiago de Cacém, near Sines, a logistics hub in southern Europe, and will have Prosolia Energy as a partner,” Iberdrola said in a statement.

“In 2025, when operational, the Fernando Pessoa Power Station, named after the poet, will provide enough clean, cheap and locally produced energy to meet the annual needs of around 430,000 homes, a population equivalent to almost twice the size of the city. Porto,” Iberdrola’s statement points out.

The company reveals that the connection to the grid has already been concluded with REN and states that the project will avoid the consumption of 370 million cubic meters of natural gas per year by producing electricity from renewable sources, instead of the electricity system resorting to power plants, combined gas cycle.

The work now called “Fernando Pessoa” was originally developed by the Portuguese-Spanish company Prosolia, under the name The Happy Sun is Shining. Iberdrola entered the project at an advanced stage of development, providing financial strength for its implementation.

The project’s land is a vast area of ​​eucalyptus trees, which will now give way to the solar plant, with more than 700,000 photovoltaic units, an undertaking that, according to Iberdrola, will employ up to 2,500 people during the construction phase.

“Fernando Pessoa’s solar facility is a new landmark in Europe combining clean energy ambitions with the creation of positive and tangible environmental and social impacts. We need to reduce our exposure to fossil fuels. We are proud to continue investing in the construction of new clean energy infrastructure in Portugal, as we have already done with the Tâmega giga battery. The cooperation of the Portuguese authorities was also fundamental for this project to reach this stage in record time,” Iberdrola president Ignacio Galán said in the statement.

The complex environmental permitting process for this 1.2 GW plant has forced developers to commit to installing tree curtains around plant sites near homes and other residential areas.

The plant will have a capacity similar to that of the already decommissioned EDP coal plant in Sines.

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