"We are not closed to listening to young people and the proposals they have shared regarding the acceleration [the energy transition]. In addition to explaining everything we are doing, we are obviously here for young people, who are in demonstrations and climate strikes, to present us with their proposals and how they think it is possible to accelerate faster. Obviously without leaving people behind and without creating social disruptions, which we dismiss in our country," Duarte Cordeiro told Lusa on the sidelines of the BUPi 2023 Annual Meeting in Batalha.

The minister stressed that if "there are good ideas that allow us to get there faster", it will not be the Government that closes itself to them.

The minister was responding to Lusa on the day that high school and higher education students demonstrated and demanded the end of fossil fuel by 2030 and 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

Duarte Cordeiro said that the "Government respects the voice of the youngest members of the public and respects the demand of the new generations."

He went on to stress that the Government "is doing everything it can to accelerate the energy transition and the production of renewable energy."

"During the first quarter of this year, we had about 70% of our electricity produced from renewable sources. We are trying to be fast. Essentially, our country's renewable source comes from having water in the dams and having wind. We are far behind in this regard," the minister admitted.

According to the minister, in 2021, Portugal had, 17 gigawatts of renewable capacity and 1.7 of solar. "Last year, we were able to install another gigawatt of renewable energy, half of which came from decentralized production – production from buildings, urban areas, communities and the other half from larger production centres. We are looking to grow very quickly," he said.

Duarte Cordeiro reported that since January 2022, the Government has already licensed "about four gigawatts that will be implemented in the near future."

"The Government also wants to launch an offshore wind tender to be able, through the wind that is generated at sea, to have a greater capacity for the production of renewable energy. With the sun and the wind at sea, we believe we will be able to have more renewable energy all year round and get closer to those very ambitious goals that young people want," he added.

According to the minister, it is a "very difficult exercise" to achieve the goal demanded by young Portuguese people, which is "to have 100% renewable energy in the country."

"Our country is among the five countries with the best results at European level. We are accelerating, which puts us before a country that, despite being among the main countries with results, does not give up. It listens to the new generations in the sense of its ambition and is seeking to respond. Many of the goals and metrics that young Portuguese people put at us are very difficult to achieve," he insisted.

Duarte Cordeiro said that the country will "try to anticipate carbon neutrality as is required," but "hardly for the deadline that is requested."

"We will try to anticipate the percentage of renewable in electricity production and reach 80% by the end of this mandate. It will be difficult to reach the 100% that young people are pushing for," he concluded.