Portuguese energy minister resigns amid tariff row

PORTUGAL: Divisions within the Portuguese government over the tariff revision for electricity generation have been highlighted following the resignation yesterday of Portugal's energy minister Henrique Gomes.

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He had been charged with implementing measures to reduce electricity production costs, including wind power, as required by international lenders in return for Portugal’s financial rescue package.

Gomes last year proposed the introduction of a windfall tax on electricity producers. The government’s eventual decision not to introduce the tax coincided with its efforts to ensure a successful sell-off of its 21% share in EDP.

More recently Gomes called for a reduction in the "excessive earnings" that Portugal’s biggest generator EDP makes from feed-in tariffs for wind power and from subsidies for other generating operations.

The renewables industry association APREN welcomed Gomes’ successor Artur Trindade as someone qualified to take decisions on electricity tariffs "and explain clearly to all Portuguese the truth on this issue".

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