Supporting Policies for Ocean Energy


Portugal’s energy sector policy aims to decarbonise the energy supply and reduce energy import dependency primarily through broad electrification and a rapid expansion of renewable electricity generation, along with increased energy efficiency.

The Directorate-General for Energy and Geology (DGEG), housed within the Ministry for the Environment and Climate Action, has the main responsibility for developing and implementing Portugal’s energy policy.

In 2021, It was approved, by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers n.º 107/ 2019, of 1 July, the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RNC 2050). In conjunction with the objectives of the RNC 2050, the National Energy and Climate Plan 2030 (PNEC 2030) was developed, which constitutes the main instrument of national energy and climate policy for the next decade towards a carbon neutral future, and which was approved by Council of Ministers Resolution No. 53/2020, of 10 July.
National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for 2021 to 2030
To meet the EU’s energy and climate targets for 2030, EU Member States established a 10-year integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the period from 2021 to 2030 proposing national targets and defining the measures to support these targets. Portugal’s NECP was submitted to the EC in 2019 and was approved by Cabinet Resolution No. 53/2020 in July 2020.

The 2030 national targets for renewables are 47% in gross final energy consumption and 80% in electricity (In 2020, renewables accounted for 34% of gross final energy consumption and 55% of electricity generation).
The NECP further indicates that to achieve these targets, the installed capacity of renewable electricity generation needs to grow from 14.1 GW in 2019 to 27.4 GW by 2030 (most of this growth is expected to come from solar PV, wind, hydropower and marine renewable energies).

In particular, for marine renewable energies, the NECP indicates that, by 2030, offshore wind should reach 0.3 GW and wave energy 70 MW. The targets in the NECP are intended to put Portugal on a path to achieving the economy-wide carbon-neutral goals set in the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RNC2050).
Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RNC2050)                                                                           
The Government of Portugal submitted in September 2019 its long-term strategy for low-emission development to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), highlighting its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Portugal’s Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RCN2050) elaborates a path to carbon neutrality and identifies guidelines for policies and measures required to achieve this goal, with a focus on increasing the use of domestic renewable energy while reducing and electrifying final energy demand.

The RNC2050 sets goals for renewables to cover 71-72% of final energy consumption by 2040 and 86-88% by 2050.

Portugal’s policy to achieve its renewables targets is focused on increasing renewable electricity generation while accelerating the electrification of all demand sectors and decarbonising the gas supply with biomethane and renewable hydrogen.
National Strategy for the Sea 2021-2030
n 2021, Portugal approved the 2021–2030 National Ocean Strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to enhance the contribution of the ocean to Portugal’s economy and promote a healthy ocean that increases the welfare of the Portuguese people. It centres around 10 objectives, including combatting climate change, decarbonising the economy and promoting renewable energy, stimulating scientific knowledge, technological development and blue innovation. The corresponding Action Plan was published in September 2021 containing over 180 concrete measures to execute until 2030, for each area, including relevant actions for Marine Renewable Energies.
The ENM 2030 and the Action Plan can be assessed at:
Permits for Private Use of the National Maritime Space (TUPEM)
The right to private use of the national maritime space is granted by concession, license or authorization, formalized in the form of 'permits of private use of the maritime space', briefly TUPEM. The authority responsible for TUPEM approval is the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM), which shall ensure the consultation of other public services and bodies.

Whenever TUPEM is associated with the use or activity related to geological resources, energy resources and renewable energy, including their infrastructure, the Directorate-General of Energy and Geology (DGEG) is the coordinator of the all licensing process.
The request for TUPEM is submitted online at DGRM website:
Technological Free Zones (ZLT)
In 2021, by decree-law 67/2021[1], the government created the legal framework for the constitution of Technological Free Zones ("ZLT - Zonas Livres Tecnologicas”) in Portugal and announced the creation of one Technological Free Zone for marine renewable energies projects located Offshore Viana do Castelo, northern Portugal.  ZLT’s are physical spaces for the testing and demonstration of new technologies and innovations, in a real environment, under special legislation and permanent monitoring by regulatory entities. This approach is a coherent and aligned approach aiming to facilitate experimental and research activities with streamlining legal mechanisms. Each ZLT is managed by an entity responsible for setting the rules and conditions for its access.
More information at:

[1] Decree-law 67/2021 -  Regime e modelo de governação para a promoção da inovação de base tecnológica através da criação de Zonas Livres Tecnológicas


Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

FCT is the national funding agency that supports science, technology and innovation in all scientific domains. In November 2020 it was published a call for project grants in all scientific fields, with a maximum funding limit for each project of 250 000 EUR, and maximum duration of 3 years. This call is open until March 2021 for research and technological development projects exploring innovative concepts, for which marine renewable energies can apply.
Sea Policy General Directorate (DGPM) - BLUE FUND
Blue Fund is an innovative public financial instrument, managed by the Ministry of the Sea, which started in 2017 focused on the development of the ocean economy, scientific research and protection of the sea environment. It prioritizes the development of sea biotech start-ups, underwater robotics, innovative shipbuilding, ocean energy, aquaculture technology and innovative solutions for ocean protection, safety, monitoring and surveillance. Six projects for wave energy demonstration and robotic equipment for operations in the sea, have been developed using these funds, led by the following Portuguese institutions and SMEs: WavEC, IST, inanoEnergy (University of Porto), In2sea, Composite Solutions and Abyssal.


OceanACT, Atlantic Lab for Future Technologies  – A new initiative aiming to be a test and demonstration center for future technologies and solutions that require validation in an ocean environment. The Aguçadoura Test Site and Viana do Castelo Demonstration Site, as well as the Atlantic Testing Platform for Maritime Robotics (the TEC4SEA Research Infrastructure) and the oceanographic radar network from the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute are among the candidates to be integrated in the OceanACT. This will enable the attraction of highly innovative projects in the Blue Economy area. This initiative initiated in 2020 is being promoted by the Collaborative Laboratory +Atlantic, Forum Oceano, CEIIA, INESC TEC and WavEC.
Atlantic Strategy Committee (ASC) – Portugal is one of the four EU Member States represented in this committee. The ASC is the governing body of the Atlantic Strategy aiming to ensure the political and operational coordination of the Atlantic Action Plan and provide the framework for its implementation. The revised Atlantic Action Plan 2.0 was communicated by the European Commission on July 2020 with the main objective to unlock the potential of blue economy in the Atlantic area while preserving marine ecosystems and contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. One of the four pillars is dedicated to Marine Renewable Energies.
Oceaninvest - An online platform for the promotion of products and services of the Portuguese Blue Economy, to attract potential investments and construct partnerships contributing to the development of the blue economy, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More information at:
Bluetech Accelerator
- A Startup Programme inviting startups to bring innovation to the Blue Economy. The first edition of the programme was strategically focused in the Port & Shipping industry and benefits from a partnership with the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD).
Portugal Blue - a new initiative for blue economy investments launched in 2020 by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Portuguese national promotional institution, Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento (IFD), co-financed by the Portuguese Ministry of Sea with resources from Fundo Azul (Blue Fund). The EIF and IFD each contribute €25 million to this joint programme to support Portuguese companies active in the area of blue economy.



Consenting processes

Update: May 2021


The Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) policy is used as a decision-making tool.

The Portuguese MSP was adopted in 2019 and includes zones for ocean energy development. The MSF Directive was transposed into Portuguese law in DL 38/2015 (amended by the DL 139/2015), laying down the basis for the Planning and Management of the National Maritime Space (LBOGEM). It defines the legal framework that allows for the implementation of MSPs in the whole national maritime space, from the baselines until the extended continental shelf (beyond 200 nm). The MSP system consists of a set of instruments developed under two complementary action levels:

  1. Strategic instruments of the planning and management policy, from which the National Strategy for the Ocean 2013-2020 stands out and
  2. Two legally binding (on public and private entities) MSP instruments: PS and Allocation Plan (AP).

A preliminary baseline for the SP has been developed under the POEM, which has therefore established the situation reference for the MSP in the continent subdivision. DGRM is responsible for the coordination of the MSP. The Allocation Plans are submitted to EIA, whereas a SEA is mandatory for the SP. In 2019, the National Maritime Spatial Plan (PSOEM) was approved establishing the licensing regime for private use of the maritime space including marine renewable energies.

The authorities involved in the consenting process are:

• Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA);
• Coordination Committee on Regional Development (CCDR);
• Energy and Geology Directorate-General (DGEG);
• Portuguese Electricity Utility (EDP);
• Directorate General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM)

The licensing process of marine renewable energies projects in Portugal requires the following components articulated between each other:

  • License for water resources utilization – managed by the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA). This license is the main consent required and can be authorized through a license or concession:
    • A license is required for devices deployed for less than one year and for installed capacity below or equal to 25 MW;
    • A concession is mandatory for more lengthy time periods. In this case, a competitive public examination must be carried out, starting with a public announcement by the competent authority.
  • Environmental license – managed by the Coordination Committee on Regional Development (CCDR), which is the regional authority;
  • License for the power production or grid connection – a request made by the developer to the Portuguese Electricity Distribution (EDP);
  • Building license for infrastructure on land (e.g. substation, cable routes) administered by the municipal council of the area where the project is to be installed.

DGEG is the licensing entity for projects with a power capacity of up to 10MW. Above 10MW the member of the Government responsible for the energy sector is the licensing authority. The licensing authority coordinates the entire licensing process, articulating the link with the various authorities involved in the process. It is therefore by the licensing authority that all procedures are developed from the delivery of the application elements to the communication of decisions and delivery of licenses to the developer.

As per the recent amendment of DL 215-B/2012 through DL 76/2019, MRE projects not covered in the RJAIA are subject to an AIncA procedure only if located within Natura 2000 Network. If the project is not subject to an AIA or AIncA, the developer may proceed in the licensing procedure provided favourable advice on the project installation on the proposed location is submitted to the regional authority (CCDR). The entity responsible for the decision on whether an EIA/EIncA is required is the CCDR if it is a license, or APA if it is a concession.

Since the scoping phase is not mandatory, the EIA procedure starts with a screening phase to decide whether the project is subject to an AIA. If an MRE project is listed under Annex II of RJAIA, a full AIA is required, and APA is the licensing authority.  In the case of MRE projects not listed under Annex II of RJAIA, i.e., with a capacity below 50 MW (or below 20 MW when located in sensitive areas) or wind farm projects with less than 20 wind turbines (or less than 10 wind turbines when located in sensitive areas) a case-by-case screening procedure is carried out.

The baseline survey is usually made through desk-based studies although some developers of the few projects that have been installed in Portugal have carried out some baseline studies as required in the declaration of the EIA.

Monitoring is usually part of the EIA declaration issued as part of the environmental license. In Portugal the onerous post-deployment monitoring have been required for some marine renewable energy projects. Evidences should be given in periodic reports that monitoring in being carried out, and its results are usually analyzed by the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICNF). Both the issuance of the TUPEM and production license requires a favourable or conditionally favourable Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) and, when required, a favourable or conditionally favourable Decision on the Environmental Compliance of the Detailed project design (DCAPE) or, if applicable, a favourable or conditionally favourable Environmental Appraisal Statement (DIncA).

Whilst there is no over-arching dedicated consenting system for ocean energy, all the required consents have been adapted to better suit wave energy developments. One of the most relevant regulations in the consenting process of Portugal is the recently updated Decree Law 76/2019 , which sets the legal regime applicable to the exercise of electricity production, transport, distribution and marketing activities and the organisation of electricity markets. Project developers must obtain the following six consents before installing a project: i) concession, license or authorisation for the private use of marine space (TUPEM ); ii) Reserve capacity; iii) Production license; iv) Exploration license; v) accessory facilities onshore and vi) Environmental Impact Assessment. A developer can apply for all licenses at the same time, however, the procedure to obtain each of these licenses is sequential and there are legally prescribed time frames for each step of the procedure.

For projects with a power capacity up to 10 MW, DGEG is the authority in charge of licensing electricity production linking with other authorities for specific permits: The Directorate General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM) for the TUPEM, CCDRs or APA for the environmental license and local city hall for onshore facilities.
The reserve capacity is a title issued by the grid operator (EDP Distribuição), with the requested power capacity on behalf of the applicant and encompasses a production license and an operation license. Obtaining the capacity reserve title is a necessary but not enough condition of the licensing process. After guaranteeing a reserve capacity in the grid, the applicant must submit the Production License application followed by an Exploration License application, to DGEG.

The procedure to obtain the TUPEM will depend on the designation of the use in the area where the project is to be installed, which is established in the Situation Plan (PS), the instrument setting the baseline for the national MSP. If the area to be used by the project is already designated for renewable energy production, the application for obtaining TUPEM is carried out directly by DGRM. If the area to be used by the project is not designated for MRE production activity, the developer may propose the amendment of its designation by submitting an Allocation Plan, which, if approved, automatically changes the PS through Council Minister´s Resolution.

Consultation is usually required as part of the legal licensing process. It is usually made after the EIS is delivered to the authorities for approval. Advices are asked by the licensing authority to several statutory consultees namely Institute of Nature Conservation, port authorities and several public authorities responsible for marine resources management. There are informal consultation activities implemented by the developers during the licensing process.

Consultation is usually required as part of the legal licensing process. It is usually made after the Environmental Impact Statement is delivered to the authorities for approval.

Advices are asked by the licensing authority to a number of statutory consultees namely the Institute of Nature Conservation, port authorities and a number of public authorities responsible for marine resources management.

There are informal consultation activities implemented during the licensing process: usually, developers prepare a number of informal public events to disseminate the project and collect public feedback on their activities at sea.

Guidance on the consenting process was produced and published by WavEC Offshore Renewables in 2016. It is currently being reviewed and updated.

There are two test sites in Portugal:

  • Aguçadora test site available for technology developers for research and project demonstration (TRL 6 - 8) of floating offshore wind and wave energy conversion devices, offshore aquaculture technologies, underwater robotics and ocean observation. 
  • Viana do Castelo test site available for pré-commercial projects (TRL 8 - 9) of floating offshore wind and wave energy conversion devices.
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