The Portuguese dam program: economic and environmental disaster
GEOTA, FAPAS, LPN, Quercus, CEAI, Aldeia, COAGRET, Flamingo, SPEA, MCLT
The Portuguese large dam program has been advertised as renewable energy, solution to pollution, external dependence and energy storage. In fact, new dams will become a huge financial burden and alleged goals would be better achieved with alternative investments.
- The dam program will represent a 10% increase in the electricity bill. It will burden State budget and consumers by an estimated 16 000 M€ in the next 75 years;
- The dam program has wrongly been propaganded as a “private investment”. In fact, it is supported by a “guaranteed power” State subsidy amounting to 49 M€ per year;
- International experience shows that energy efficiency is by far the best investment in the energy industry – shown by a constant reduction of energy intensity in the past two decades e.g. in the EU, USA, Canada, Russia, China and India (unlike Portugal);
- In Portugal, the best investments in energy saving projects cost 10 (ten) times less than new dams; refitting of old dams costs 6 (six) times less than new ones. Energy efficiency creates new jobs and large net value. Economically interesting investments in energy efficiency could save 25% or more of current energy consumption;
- New dams represent only 0.5% of primary energy, 3% of electricity demand and 2% of potential energy savings in Portugal. The alleged “national public interest” is false;
- Energy efficiency and new dams are incompatible: they compete for investment funds, State budget incentives, financial effort of consumers and skilled labour;
- Last but not the least, contrary to propaganda, large dams are among the worst energy production systems regarding social and environmental impacts: they imply very significant loss of cultural heritage, loss of jobs in tourism, loss of railway mobility, loss of biodiversity, loss of agricultural soil, loss of unique landscapes.
The whole dam program should be immediately suspended and revoked.