The Berlenga Project was present on the C3P and NASA Technical
"Enhancing Mission through Proactive Environmental Risk Mitigation"
located at the University of California San Diego, November 18-20,
Dr. Sérgio Leandro,
Environmental Advisor - Township of Peniche,
made a presentation about the Berlenga Project with the
How Important is it to be a Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO? The Case of
Berlengas Islands (Peniche – Portugal)
Project: Background and Overview
Berlenga Island is a unique
Nature Reserve of Portugal. It is, therefore, imperative that Berlenga be
preserved and passed on to our children in the same conditions that we
received it from our ancestors. However, beyond all the damage that we
inflict upon Berlenga’s delicate eco-system, it is shocking and entirely
unacceptable that both the European Commission and the UN Environmental
Program do not recognize Berlenga’s right to fly Europe’s Blue Flag.
Raw sewage and electric
power, today produced by diesel engines, as well as water supply limitations
and fuel spill risks are examples of the problems that the Reserve must
overcome. The “winter isolation” period, during
which merely 2 lighthouse keepers remain on the Island, is a sharp contrast
to the “summer invasion” situation, when more than
1000 residents and visitors are on the Island, daily. The associated demand
with infrastructure and logistics issues has led to situations that our
efforts have sought to correct. Failure to establish appropriate and timely
corrective actions will most likely lead to an intolerable disruption of the
Berlenga Island, as a living eco-system. Implementing a recommended
well-structured holistic approach will both alleviate current problems and
serve to establish an exemplary “Low Carbon Island” site.
For this purpose, there is
an ongoing project called “Berlenga, A Laboratory for Sustainability”,
developed under the auspices of the Secretary of State for Environment and
coordinated by the Center for Pollution Prevention, C3P, with the support of
ITB, Inc. from the USA.
The C3P-led team will work
with other stakeholders, such as the Institute for Nature Conservation and
Municipality of Peniche, the
Navy Lighthouse Authority, the utility companies Águas de Portugal,
AdP, and Energias de Portugal,
GALP Energia, Portugal Telecom,
Rui Pena, Arnaut e Associados, among others. The Association formed by
these entities is working with Berlenga’s residents and businesses to define
the most critical requirements for the Island Project, in order to maximize
the usage of an integrated set of implemented solutions. Potential solutions
will be identified and evaluated for their suitability. The identification
of requirements, potential solutions and conceptual design for the Island is
being defined by consensus among the core team members, and in consultation
and approval by the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment. While technical
feasibility and environmental benefit will be key drivers for the conceptual
design, other factors such as refocusing Island visitation to cultural and
educational aspects, are also goals that are on the drawing board. Indeed,
it is envisioned that Berlenga could be a “showcase” of long term
sustainability and biodiversity, not only for Portugal but for island and
isolated or remote communities in general, particularly in developing
As mentioned before, the
conceptual design for the Berlenga Island will address all community needs
(environmental, energy, potable and service water, waste treatment,
transportation), for each Island zone (fishermen’s
village and restaurant, fortress, campground, lighthouse). In addition, the
overall design will offer solutions covering the gamut from pollution
prevention to resource conservation to recycling, incorporating both
low-tech and high-tech solutions. The latest commercially available
renewable energy technologies will be incorporated in the design to provide,
store and supply energy in a sustainable fashion, significantly reducing
current demand for diesel fuel. Energy sources may include various
combinations of solar, wind, and eventually biomass and wave power. All
possible combinations of locations for the renewable energy systems—on
Island, in the ocean, and on the nearby mainland—will be evaluated to
minimize disruption of the Island’s landscape and soundscape. Maximum
utilization of existing infrastructures will be considered. The design will
be robust, to allow for the possible inclusion of newer, more advanced
technologies in the future.
This Project should be
concluded within 18 months. Therefore, priority will be given to leading
edge solutions that have already been tested, and that have a minimum impact
on the natural resources of the Island, including its soil and the
surrounding sea, as well as both their flora and fauna. This does not mean
that the Project isn’t open to research projects that can complement or
improve the development of future, more modern solutions, as long as they do
not interfere with the established calendar. This calendar is the result of
an urgent need to apply immediate solutions for the Island’s more pressing
problems. Moreover, it is restricted to timings that are not easy to
overcome, such as the impossibility of working on-site during the months of
November through May.
On the other hand, the
Project’s budget, at 2 to 3 million Euros, is strongly grounded in the
uninterested participation of the associated partners in terms of
technology, labor, and supply of goods and services. Obviously, this is not
enough to cover all expenses, and that is why we are counting on financial
contributions from any public or private person or entity that would like to
become associated with this Project through sponsorship. Besides, the
Project is conceived to work in modules, where priority is given to the
solutions to basic problems which are: renewable energy production and
storage, production and storage of drinking water, and waste management –
compacting solid waste and wastewater treatment.
In the significant group of
Partners that has, to date, gathered for this Project, many required areas
of scientific and technological expertise are already well represented; and
some businesses have clearly and unequivocally reflected their desire to
voluntarily integrate environmental concerns into their social goals,
through financial donations to this Project.
For the success of this
Project we trust in the conscious attitude of Social Solidarity and
Responsibility, both collectively and individually, on behalf of these
Partners and all others yet to come.
C3P/NASA Workshop 2007)
Dr. António José Correia, Mayor of Peniche
General P.C. Branco,
Dr. António Teixeira, ICNB
Eng. Sandra Estanislau, ISQ
Dr. Teresa Esteves, INETI
Eng. João Maciel, EDP
- Eng. Nuno Carvalho, C.M. Peniche
Water Supply and
Wastewater Treatment and Disposal in Berlenga
- Eng. Carlos Póvoa, AdP
Technical Issues of Micro-Generation Islanding
- Eng. André Madureira,
Business Plan for 2008/2009 of the Association Berlenga – Laboratório de
Sustentabilidade was approved during the General Meeting held on July 15,
Evaluation of Natural Resources
Energy System – Specification, evaluation, consulting, selection,
acquisition and installation of technical solutions.
Pilot System – installation of an energy pilot system (photovoltaic energy),
in December 2007.
Global System – electrical energy generation and storage system using
renewable sources (solar and wind). It is predicted the system installation
in 2 phases. The first phase shall be implemented in 2008 and will fulfil
the major energy needs of the island. The second phase shall be implemented
in 2009 and will cover the remaining energy needs.
Thermal Energy System – is planned the installation, by the end of the year
2008, of a solar thermal energy system for heating sanitary waters.
Water and Sewage System
following systems are planned to be installed on the island in different
for production of drinkable water – installation of desalination equipment.
Wastewater treatment system – installation of a screening process (primary
seawater contamination in Berlenga Island.
Solid Waste Management System
the implementation of an urban solid waste management system – compactor
system to be installed by the end of 2008.
Environmental Incidences Study
elaboration of the Environmental Incidences Study, conducted by
Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade, regarding the Project “Berlenga
– Laboratório de Sustentabilidade”, started in January 2008, and was
submitted to the competent authorities for evaluation on April 14, 2008.
objective of the general methodology applied for the development of the
Environmental Incidences Study was to fulfil the legal requirements.
ecological sensibility, as well as other urban environmental impacts,
originated the need to conduct a more detailed analysis of the major
problems / incidences of the project Berlenga – Laboratório de
Sustentabilidade, in order to avoid potential conflicts and to
contribute with a good implementation of the project and the minimization of
results from a deep examination of the several intervention projects, and
consists of a descriptor analysis conducted by competent entities. The study
mentions the aspects considered important and that contributes for the
project planning and management.
basis was the project success and its contribution for the future of the
island. Considering the study objectives, several aspects were mentioned,
namely the project negative impacts, situations to avoid and minimize,
recommendations and measures.
Simultaneously with the elaboration of the Environmental Incidences Study,
the Association has initiated the preparation and launch of calls for the
acquisition and installation of equipments for the several intervention
areas of the project, namely: energy generation and storage, water
production, sewage treatment and solid waste treatment.
Constitution of the Association
Laboratório de Sustentabilidade
April 21, 2008
to move forward with the objectives of the Project “Berlenga –
Laboratório de Sustentabilidade”, a non profit Association, named
“Berlenga – Laboratório de Sustentabilidade”, was formally constituted
on April 21, 2008.
Association Partners are: Municipality of Peniche, C3P-Center For Pollution
Prevention (representing NASA and ITB),
for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB), EDP – Energies of Portugal,
ISQ – Welding and Quality Institute, AdP – Waters of Portugal, EFACEC
Engineering, INETI, INESC Porto, GALP Energy, Portuguese Navy and
de Advogados Rui Pena, Arnaut & Associados (Lawyer Firm).
Installation of solar photovoltaic panels at Berlenga Island
Energy Pilot System
Video - Media Coverage of the field work -
December 7, 2007,
was a historical day for the Berlenga Island. This fact was due to
the beginning of the installation of the first solar photovoltaic panels
to produce electrical energy at the island.
process was a contribute of several project Partners, namely EDP –
Energias de Portugal, Portuguese Navy – Lighthouse Authority, EFACEC and
Municipality of Peniche, and integrated the installation of electric
energy production equipments, as well as energy storage technologies.
system is composed of 12 photovoltaic panels with a total 1.84 kW installed
power and by 24 batteries, which will permit the storage of 14.6 kWh.
Last updated: 10/05/2010