Energy, Natural Resources & the Environment

Scientific Areas
Environmental Sciences
Marine Sciences and Technologies
Scientific Supervisor:
Carla Amado Gomes
Pursuing a strategy of innovation and collaboration with other scientific disciplines, it was urgent to create an academic space within the Portuguese legal academia to consolidate and address these issues. All issues will be studied by multidisciplinary teams, so as to allow analyses from legal, engineering, biologic, chemical, environmental and economic perspectives, in search for a sustainable policy for the use and provision of energy and other natural resources.
Aligned with CIDP’s strategic objectives, this Line of Research does not focus strictly on the Portuguese context, thus evading a scientific parochial enclosure. In fact, the triangle in question – energy, natural resources and the environment – can only be understood from International, European and domestic concurrent perspectives.
CIDP will focus its research in this Thematic Line on three different yet closely intertwined topics: energy, sea, and water and waste management services.
The theoretical challenges about Energy Law will be addressed at two levels. On the one hand, by framing them within the recent changes in Portuguese Energy Law, considering the liberalisation of the sector and the reduction of State subsidies and its impact. On the other, by determining whether, and to which extent, Portuguese Energy Law has had any influence in Portuguese-speaking countries. Even though there are some hints in that direction – namely from the recent amendments to the gas regime in Brazil and from the regimes in force in Mozambique and Angola –, the truth is that it has not yet been the subject of a thorough analysis.
As for the maritime space, its crucial economic impact and potential is widely acknowledged. However, the economic activity in maritime space remains dependent on a dense and scarcely studied regulatory web. Indeed, investment in the sea, either direct foreign or national investment, lacks information, especially regarding the legal framework and prerequisites (licenses, authorisations, concessions) and their economic impact in a balance of costs/advantages (e.g., time-limitations of concessions, dispute settlement regimes, tax framework).
Lastly, water and waste management has seen important shifts in its regulatory apparatus and standards over the past decade. Without a doubt, the legislative reforms in these sectors have led to an increase in the privatisation. The state has consequently evolved from being the sole responsible for providing those services to merely ensuring the quality and the continuity of the service provision. Moreover, in a context of budgetary stringency, there are conditions for the emergence of multiple tensions among the different actors, from the public and private sector, as the growth of judicial litigation between them has evidenced. Moreover, in a context of budgetary stringency, there are conditions for the emergence of multiple tensions among the different actors, from the public and private sector, as the growth of judicial litigation between them has evidenced. The legal complexity of, and the economics and moral arguments for and against, the recent shift towards the privatisation of former public goods such as water and waste management will therefore be a central reference of this Line of Research.
a) To establish a databasis and, afterwards, a Permanent Observatory of Energy Law,;
b) To determine the adequacy of the legal regime of the generation of renewable energy in Portugal;
c) To measure and contrast different systems of electricity pricing;
d) To compare the regimes of energy production and provision in Portugal and in other Portuguese-speaking countries;
e) To inventory the types of investment in the Portuguese maritime space;
f) To evaluate the effectiveness of the applicable legal framework;
g) To appraise the impact of a lack of applicable legal regimes to investment in the maritime space;
h) To assess the Portuguese public policies as well as governance models for water and waste management, establishing a comparative framework with other member states of the European Union;
i) To evaluate whether public water and waste services are tailored to promote territorial development and to combat inequalities among different regions;
j) To equate the regulatory yardsticks and supervision mechanisms applicable to water and waste services and its environmental obligations and quality standards;
k) To consider the potential evolution into tariff harmonisation in what fees charged to users of water and waste services are concerned; and
l) To appraise the implications of the recognition of a fundamental right to water in the protection of the users of public water services.