Solar power and energy efficiency are smarter ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, say environmental groups

European environmental groups have sounded the alarm over the Portuguese government’s plans to build up to 12 new hydro power plants.

The Portuguese government claimed the dams would reduce their dependence on fossil fuel-based energy. The European Environmental Bureau argued that Portugal has many options for more cost-effective and less damaging ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Eugénio Sequeira, of the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, explained:’ The Portuguese Government’s plans for 12 new dams are likely to heavily damage some of Portugal’s last stretches of natural river ecosystems, yet the Government’s impact assessment has failed to assess these ecological impacts and worse, did not even consider alternate solutions like solar and demand management.’

Francisco Ferreira, Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza, added: ‘Investing in solar power and energy efficiency would be a much smarter choice.’

The environmental groups also point out that the Portuguese Government’s plans will be in conflict with efforts to meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.

All EU member states are currently preparing management plans for river basins in compliance the Water Framework Directive, which mandates their finalisation by 2010.