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NPF highlights

Download the full NPF documents:

English translation: portugal npf.en.pdf

Original language: portugal npf.pdf

Download the National Implementation Report 2019:

Portugal NIR

NPF highlights and 2019 NPF reporting on implementation highlights

On this page, we provide relevant information on the topic of alternative fuels vehicles, infrastructure or support measures as provided in the National Policy Framework (NPF) as well as the 2019 Reporting by the Member States on the NPF implementation.

According to Art. 10(1) of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, each Member State shall submit to the European Commission a report on the implementation of its National Policy Framework on a tri-annual basis, and for the first time by or before 18 November 2019. Those Reports must contain a description of the measures taken in the reporting Member State in support of alternative fuels infrastructure build-up. An overview of the Reports notified by [Member State] and received by the Commission to date is provided here below (download section), including an English translation where applicable.

The highlights for all National Policy Framework follow more or less the same structure: we first explain the modelling approach where one has been provided, we then explain the objectives or key focus areas of the NPF and then provide an overview of the key messages for those alternative fuels with distinct infrastructure requirements for which Member States had to develop national targets according to the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (electricity, hydrogen, LPG, CNG and LNG - therefore not covering for instance biofuels or synthetic fuels. The highlights are extracts from the NPF documents. These highlights should not be considered summaries of the NPFs. For a full and  complete overview, we  advise to read the NPF documents


Highlights 2019 Reporting on the NPF implementation 

Given the context and with a view to reinforcing that national commitment in a sector that has proved to be particularly challenging in making progress towards decarbonisation and the introduction of alternative energy sources, the National Policy Framework was drawn up with the goal of helping to overcome one of the main obstacles to the growth of an alternative fuel vehicles market with a lower environmental impact, i.e. developing the supply/ charging infrastructure needed for those vehicles.

Portugal focused on defining a strategic framework for the medium term, the 2021-2030 horizon, in its National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (NECP 2030), the final version of which was submitted to the European Commission in December 2019. This plan established more ambitious targets and objectives, promoting the decarbonisation of various sectors with a view to attaining carbon neutrality by 2050. The Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RCN2050) approved by Cabinet Resolution No 107/2019 of 1 July 2019 set the national objective of attaining carbon neutrality by 2050, i.e. achieving a neutral balance between GHG emissions and carbon sequestration in soil and forests.

The NECP 2030 approved by Cabinet Resolution No 53/2020 of 10 July 2020 is the main instrument of the national energy and climate policy for the next decade. Aligned with the objectives of the NCN2050, it reinforces the progress made by Portugal in the area of renewable energies and energy efficiency and defines eight national objectives as part of an integrated energy and climate strategy, one of which is promoting sustainable mobility.

Hydrogen, together with electric mobility and advanced biofuels, is therefore the national response to the challenges facing the transport sector. The NPF for creating infrastructure for alternative fuels will have to be revised in that light, bringing it into alignment with the new ambition as set out in the NCEP 2030 and the National Strategy on Hydrogen. The review of the NPF is in fact one of the action measures set out in the NECP 2030 for promoting sustainable mobility.

The national targets and objectives set out in the NPF focused mostly on the development of infrastructure for electricity, CNG and LNG for the 2020 or 2025 horizons, depending on whether they referred to electrical charging points for electric mobility and CNG refuelling points in urban agglomerations, or CNG refuelling points along the Trans-European Transport Network and LNG refuelling points.

Electricity: promoting mass-market use of electric vehicles is a premise for the 2030 horizon. This will be achieved, on the one hand, by expanding the network of rapid charging points (high power charging points) available to users on a fair and universal basis, and by promoting the installation of charging points in buildings; and on the other, by providing incentives for the acquisition of electric vehicles by private individuals. An estimated budget of EUR 360 million has been earmarked for this 2 for the period 2021 to 2030. The model adopted for electric mobility in Portugal - the MOBI.E network - consists of a charging system on a national scale, accessible to any user, with guarantees of technical interoperability and service interoperability, enabling access to any charging point through a single registration or contract and authentication and access mechanism. As the light electric vehicles market is starting to show signs of sustained, dynamic growth and is becoming an increasingly more competitive and rational option, it was decided to improve the infrastructure for charging these vehicles. As regards electric vehicles for road transport, the NPF predicted about 34 000 electric vehicles in circulation by 2020. This included passenger cars, goods vehicles, buses and motorcycles. The projection was for 179 000 electric vehicles by 2030. By 2019, the number of electric vehicles in circulation, including pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, had already exceeded the above-mentioned estimate set out in the NPF for 2020.

LPG: LPG first started to be used as a fuel for light and heavy-duty vehicles in the early 1990s, leaving Portugal with a network of over 300 refuelling points. However, LPG has only ever accounted for less than 1% of the total energy consumption of the transport sector. The arrival of alternative technologies with better environmental and/or energy benefits also led Portugal to focus more on other alternatives.

Hydrogen: hydrogen has been recognised for its potential as a strategic energy vector enabling the temporary storage of energy and its high flexibility - including as a fuel in the transport sector - at the time of drafting of the National Policy Framework, work was commencing on assessing the potential of hydrogen and defining a roadmap for its development in Portugal. However, it was considered too early to start defining goals and targets regarding the creation of infrastructure to supply hydrogen for the transport sector within the scope of the National Policy Framework.

Shipping: In the Law on the State Budget for 2020, published in Law No 2/2020 of 31 March 2020, the Government expresses its intention to promote the use of LNG in maritime trips between the mainland and the islands of the Azores and Madeira and in river cruise trips on the navigable section of the Douro in the year 2020. It also states that it will take the necessary steps to assess the economic feasibility of solutions enabling LNG and electricity to be supplied to ships at the ports of Leixões, Lisbon, Sines and Praia da Vitória belonging to the main Trans- European Transport (TEN-T) Network in accordance with the Strategy to Increase Port Competitiveness 2016-2026.

Measures to promote the use of cleaner fuel sources in inland waterway transport, such as CNG, LNG, electricity and hydrogen, via the acquisition or conversion of vessels, and the installation of the respective refuelling points, have also received support under the Operational Programme for Sustainability and Efficiency in the Use of Resource. In fact, a call for applications to that effect is currently underway. The eligible expenditure also corresponds to the differential between the purchase cost of the ‘clean boat’ and the expected cost of an equivalent diesel-fuelled boat complying with the maximum NOx limits under the Marpol Convention. 

As regards the supply of alternative fuels for maritime transport, it is important to note thatthere are currently two Portuguese vessels fuelled by LNG, known as ‘AUTO ECO’ (IMO No 9 9736365) and ‘AUTO ENERGY’ (IMO No 9736377. An estimated 80 LNG-fuelled vessels stopped at Portuguese ports in 2019. The majority of these stopovers were linked to 35 LNG tankers which visited Portuguese ports (between 1 and 4 times at most in 2019). An Italian cruise ship made weekly stopovers in the port of Funchal in Madeira, during specific periods of 2019 . Still on the subject of alternative fuel vessels, please note that at the Viana do Castelo shipyards work is ongoing to build vessels with a hybrid propulsion system, equipped with electric and combustion engines. This technology is being manufactured in a partnership between the ship-owner and Rolls Royce. As for the supply of LNG at Portuguese ports, 13 truck-to-ship operations were carried out at the ports of Sines and Funchal between November 2017 and April 2018. We have also been informed that more recently, in February 2020, a new LNG supply was carried out at the port of Sines. The alternative fuel was loaded onto road tankers at the NG filling station at the Sines terminal and then supplied to the anchored vessel.


NPF highlights (date of adoption: June 2017)

With the publication of Resolution No 20/2013 of the Council of Ministers of 10 April 2013, the national renewable energies and energy efficiency strategy was revised by the approval of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the period 2013-2016 (Plano Nacional de Ação para a Eficiência Energética - PNAEE) and the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the period 2013-2020 (Plano Nacional de Ação para as Energias Renováveis - PNAER). This joint review made it possible to align the objectives of these two plans and, as a result, to adjust supply to energy demand, taking into account primary energy consumption and the contribution of the energy sector to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The National Climate Change Programme 2020/2030 (Programa Nacional para as Alterações Climáticas 2020/2030 - PNAC 2020/2030), approved by Resolution No 56/2015 of the Council of Ministers, is a strategic instrument for mitigating climate change, which aims to promote decarbonisation and ensure a sustainable path towards reducing national GHG emissions.

To this end, the PNAC 2020/2030 sets emission reduction targets for various sectors, including the transport sector: -24% in 2020 and -26% in 2030, compared to 2005.

Given its size, Portugal does not have the capacity (lack of market scale) to simultaneously develop and support the different types of vehicles powered by alternative fuels. When it comes to alternative fuels in light passenger transport, Portugal is focused on electric and LPG vehicles (with the latter technology having already been implemented several years ago in Portugal).

ElectricityThe National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the period 2013-2020 (PNAER 2020), approved by Resolution No 20/2013 of the Council of Ministers of 10 April 2013, defined a set of specific policies and measures for several sectors, including electric mobility. The electric mobility model adopted in Portugal - MOBI.E consisted of a nationwide recharging system accessible to all users. This competitive and open system with low barriers to entry also guarantees technical interoperability (option to recharge any type of vehicle) and service interoperability (access to any recharging point through a single registration or contract and authentication and access mechanism). According to this strategic plan, it is estimated that, in 2020, the electric vehicle fleet in Portugal should number approximately 34,000 electric vehicles, which include light passenger vehicles, freight vehicles, buses and motorcycles. Electric vehicles (in the medium to long-term) can simultaneously serve as a means of transportation and as a device for storing and using electricity, playing a very important role in improving the balance of the electrical system.

CNGNatural gas has not been widely introduced in light passenger transport. At this level, an autogas network has already been developed and implemented as an economically more attractive alternative to diesel fuel, with a current network of around 350 refuelling points. As a result, the expected changes in the fleet of CNG light passenger vehicles should mainly relate to taxi fleets. With regard to the refuelling point infrastructure, compared to the existing network in 2015, it is expected that a further five combined LNG and CNG refuelling points and four CNG refuelling points will be operational by 2025. 

LNGWith regard to long-distance heavy goods transport, LNG is currently an alternative to diesel. However, due to the higher cost of purchasing vehicles and limitations in terms of freight transported and range, hauliers are still somewhat cautious when it comes to adopting this technology. However, once the possible technological limitations of these vehicles have been overcome and the cost reduction associated with the increase in their production scale has materialised, and once the infrastructure for the supply of LNG to the TEN-T network is in place, a fleet of heavy goods vehicles with around 200 LNG vehicles is planned for 2025.

With the legislation published in 2014 (Decree-Law No 170- B/2014 of 7 November 2014), passenger and cargo ships in national ports, including the ports that make up the CORE Network (Leixões, Lisbon and Sines), cannot use marine fuels with a sulphur content exceeding 0.10% by mass in a wide range of circumstances. In addition, in view of their location, the ports of the Azores and Madeira are in a strategic position, particularly with regard to the Transatlantic and North African routes, respectively.In the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the availability of LNG in ports could promote inter-island maritime traffic with less environmental impact. Portugal will have five ports with the capability to carry out LNG bunkering operations for ships: Three ports in the Core network (Leixões, Lisbon and Sines) and two ports in the Autonomous Regions (Azores and Madeira).