Portugal will have to start building offshore wind plant by 2015 if it wants to maintain its position as one of the leading wind power nations in the world, according to Ana Estanqueiro, director of the Wind and Ocean Energy Research Unit of Portugal's Institute for Engineering, Technology and Innovation (INETI). The country is currently the fifth biggest wind market in Europe for annual megawatts installed and the eighth biggest in the world. Estanqueiro, speaking at an offshore wind seminar in Lisbon on September 17, organised by the British Embassy, said the country could install up to 3500 MW offshore using existing technology. An INETI study has identified the best locations. Around 500 MW could go up along Portugal's north coast near Viana do Castelo and Porto at a depth of 40 metres. In central Portugal, between Peniche and Cascais, the potential is for around 700 MW, while in the area of Figueira da Foz it amounts to 100 MW. The area around Lisbon has best potential with sites offshore for around 1000 MW. More potential lies further offshore at greater water depths, Estanqueiro added. Here. international co-operation may be instrumental to fully realise Portugal's potential, she said. The Portuguese government is currently working on a suitable legal framework to encourage offshore wind development.