In the pursuit of its mission, AREAM has been supporting and providing advice to economic agents on energy and environmental matters, supporting the Regional Government in the formulation and execution of energy and environmental policies, promoting cooperation with other national and international institutions, and looking for a suitable dynamics of the Region in the European framework, through several projects, in the search for innovative solutions, having economical and social interest.
Planning and Energy Policy
Isolated insular energy systems, as in the case of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, have specificities that lack special treatment, in an economic and social cohesion context, at a national level and within the European Union.
In fact, these insular systems present a high dependence on oil and their distance from great centres restricts access to the advantages of the large energy networks. On the other hand, the limited dimension of the market induces significant additional costs in the fuel supply and in the electricity production.
AREAM works with the Vice-Presidency of Madeira’s Regional Government and with the Electricity Company of Madeira in the planning and definition of the regional energy policy, namely:
AREAM has also participated in several projects and studies of international scope, namely on the energy policy of insular regions, and cooperated in energy planning actions and in the creation of regional energy agencies, in the Azores, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Shetland, Orkney, Western Islands, Samso, Gotland, Öand, Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Cape Verde, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta, Cyprus, Crete and various Greek islands.
Planning and Environmental Policy
More and more, environmental matters assume a decisive importance in the Region’s sustainable development. Effectively, the maintenance of the environmental quality is a strategic factor for the well-being of the population and for tourism development in the long term.
The limited extension of the territory, the mountainous terrain, the fragility of natural systems and the insularity, associated to the demographic density and distribution, and to the dominant economic activity, reduce the ability to withstand environmental pressures, be it from an ecological point of view or from a social and economic point of view.
In this context, AREAM collaborated with the Regional Government in the planning and in the definition of the environmental policy for the medium term, including the formulation of action programmes and the mechanisms for its implementation, such as regulatory, economical and financial instruments.
The energy efficiency represents the most important potential, in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, to reduce fossil fuel consumption and associated pollution, as well as, energy dependence from abroad and costs for consumers and for the Region, promoting also job-creation and regional added value.
The commitment to a proactive energy efficiency policy is, without a doubt, an appropriate direction for a more sustainable energy system, from an environmental and economic point of view. For this reason, energy efficiency is an important pillar of the European energy policy, intended to be catalyzed in various sector policies, such as the transport policy, business policy, regional and urban policy, inspection and tariff policy, amongst others.
In this context, AREAM has developed a set of actions in the domain of rational use of energy, especially in the residential, hotel and public services sectors. With respect to energy efficiency in buildings, AREAM’s role can be highlighted in the launch and implementation of the National Certification System of Energy Performance and Air Quality in Buildings.
Renewable energy attenuates carbon dioxide emissions and, at the same time, contributes to reduce imports and energy dependence on oil-producing products, and potentiates also job-creation and regional added value.
The commitments assumed by the European Union on climate change, oblige the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, making regional and local policies co-responsible for the contribution to global objectives. On the other hand, the European legislation for the promotion of renewable energy resources represents an important impulse for the affirmation of renewable energy and for the improvement of its competitiveness in relation to fossil energy.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira has already a long tradition in the use of renewable energy, having at its disposal significant water and wind utilization for electricity production, although an interesting potential could still be exploited, namely hydro, wind, solar and biomass energy.
AREAM has developed or participated in various actions to promote renewable energy, to evaluate available resources in Madeira and in Porto Santo, to identify the technical, economic and political constraints, and to study solutions to overcome the existing barriers.
It can also be referred that AREAM participates in a company – ENEREEM, Energias Renováveis, Lda., – with the objective to develop investments in the renewable energy area.
Environmental Management in the Industrial and Hotel Sectors
The environmental characterization per sector and the definition of action plans, to correct and prevent environmental incidences from economic activities, are essential instruments for the preservation of the environmental quality and for the development of an entrepreneurial and regional dynamics of environmental culture.
The hotel business has a significant weight on the regional economy and presents some important environmental impacts. On the other hand, tourism is very sensitive to environmental quality, thus, environment is a strategic factor for the hotel sector in the long term.
The industry, despite its relatively limited participation in the regional product, presents negative impacts on the environmental quality, aggravated by the location of some industrial plants, in sensitive areas of tourist interest or of urban expansion.
AREAM has developed studies to identify, prevent and correct environmental dysfunctions in the industry and in the hotel sectors, in the scope of national and European community programs. It also supported some companies to implement measures in order to improve their environmental performance.
Urban transportation issues, especially in urban clusters, are of utmost concern to decision makers, due to traffic congestion, noise and atmospheric pollution, and energy consumption that result in the degradation of quality urban life.
In this context, AREAM has developed and participated in some studies and analysis, especially on new transport technologies and sustainable mobility solutions, suitable to the new challenges, namely with Horários do Funchal - Transportes Públicos, S.A..
Problems related to urban solid waste are particularly serious in a region with Madeira’s characteristics, due to its insularity and distance from the mainland, limited dimension of territory, mountainous terrain, high population density and disperse settlement.
In this domain, AREAM developed studies and collaborated in work on waste management in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, especially concerning energy recovery and on packaging and waste packaging management, in the context of an insular and outermost region of the European Union.