Wind turbine at the energy park managed by the EDP Renewable Energy Unit, EDP Renovaveis, in Maunca, Portugal, June 18, 2018.
Daniel Rodriguez | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Director General of the Portuguese Public Utilities EDP linked the rapid adoption of renewable energy with Europe’s energy independence, telling CNBC that investment in the sector should be “much faster”.
“These [indigenous] … Resources – wind, solar – that we have in Europe “, – Miguel Stillwell de Andrade, who spoke to “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday morning, he said. “So we would become less dependent on external energy sources, be it gas or coal.”
“I think the answer is really that we need to speed up and do it much faster, especially on the side of renewables,” he added.
The executive’s comments came at a time when tensions between Russia and Ukraine have pushed discussions about energy independence to the forefront of many people’s minds.
Russia was the largest supplier of both oil and natural gas European Union last year, according to Eurostat.
By 2030, the EU, of which Portugal is a member, wants to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55%. With regard to renewable sources in its energy balance, a proposal was made to increase the current target by at least 32% by 2030 to 40%.
“To increase the EU’s energy independence, we must continue to invest in renewable energy, but we must also do more to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.
“We have ambitious goals in Europe as a whole, in terms of what we want to do,” de Andrade said, referring to the Paris Agreement.
The agreement, adopted in 2015, aims to “limit global warming well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”
For his part, de Andrade said the trick was to “speed it up on the ground, translate it into national plans, translate it into concrete projects on the ground.”
“And for that, we also need much more flexible, much faster permits and licensing for renewable projects,” he said. “We need to make sure that networks are investing in building these connections.”
“And if we can do that, if we can really accelerate that pace, we’ll get cheaper energy [that’s] reliable as well as being more energy independent ”.
As a company, EDP wants to get rid of coal by 2025 and is committed to 2030 100% electricity production based on renewable energy.
On Friday, the company reported a net profit of 657 million euros (746.1 million dollars) for 2021, down 18% from the same period last year. EDP said it was “fined for the unique effects of 169 million [euros]including the depreciation of thermal assets in Iberia ”.
“Excluding these impacts, periodic net income increased by 6% [year-on-year] up to 826 m [euros]backed by high performance in renewable energy worldwide, the integration of Viesgo in Spain and the growth of network activity in Brazil, “- said in a statement. Viesgo is a company specializing in electricity distribution.
EDP said its results in 2021 were affected by rising wholesale market prices for energy and hydropower below the Iberian average.