British Ambassador to Portugal visits Aura Power’s solar construction site in Casal da Cortiça

Key local stakeholders and the British Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty were invited to Aura Power’s solar farm site in Casal da Cortiça this week which has started construction early in the year.

July 7, 2023

The Aura Power project team were joined by members of the construction team including EDP  and some of the landowners to update attendees on the progress and importance of the project. Representatives from the Council, ICNF, Directorate General for Energy and Geology were also present. 

Jorge Fernandes, Aura Power’s Country Manager opened the meeting by introducing the project and the phases of construction. He said “EDP Commercial started construction of the substation back in February which is now nearing completion. Our joint venture partner ib vogt then started construction of the solar farm at the end of June. Construction is expected to take around 9 months and we anticipate for the solar farm to be energised in Q1 next year.”

The solar farm is located 120 km north of Lisbon and 6 km to the south of the city of Leiria. It lies adjacent to the EREDES(DNO) Azoia substation where it will connect directly into, at the 60KV voltage level. With an energy generation of 44GWh per year, the solar farm will provide enough clean electricity to power over 13,500 homes, preventing the emissions of over 9,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere each year.

Chris Sainty, British Ambassador to Portugal delivered a speech to attendees, signifying the importance of this project and said ”This feels like a very significant moment. Both our countries are deeply committed to net zero target emissions and indeed Portugal has brought forward that target to 2045. Portugal is already a world leader on energy transition and has recently set an important target of reaching 80% of clean energy production by 2026 This is really an enormous revolution and the most ambitious re-shaping of the world we live in.  

There’s lots of work to be done… and it is a race against the clock. Obviously there are challenges, common to both countries. The first one is to ensure our grid infrastructure is fit for purpose, capable of supporting the rapid growth of renewable energy. The second one is the need to incentivise solar and battery storage to work together. Portugal is setting a very good example by having combined auctions to make viable the economics of solar electricity generation and large scale electricity storage. Aura Power is a very good example of a company who is well placed to be part of this very important revolution in the way renewable energy is generated, stored and distributed because they are active in solar and battery storage. 

So for all of those reasons, the launch of this project feels like an important milestone not only for Aura Power but for Portugal and the wider energy transition. I know this is your (Aura Power’s) second project (under construction) in Portugal and it is a very strong signal of your company's commitment to develop and invest in the Portuguese energy market, which we very much welcome.”

Peter Sermon, Head of Development at Aura Power closed the speeches by saying “There’s a lot more to do and we are well poised to do that. We’ve got a very nice pipeline of projects that we are developing. We all know there are challenges with the grid as we acknowledge but this is the first of what will hopefully be many more projects, not just for Aura Power but Portugal as a whole.”

Attendees of the meeting then participated in a site walk whereby members of the construction team walked through the various elements of the construction site and the progress made to date.

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