Lighhouse island 3: Madeira


Location and general description:

Madeira archipelago is formed by 4 islands, Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens, with a total extension of 801 km2 and a population of around 262.000 of which 75% live in Fucnhal, the region´s capital.

They are located 1000 km away from Lisbon, in the North Atlantic Ocean and its average temperatures are 22ºC during summer and 16ºC in winter. The economy is mainly based on tourism and agriculture.

In this regard, more than one million tourists visited Madeira in 2016. The grid is composed of: 20 x 30/6.6 kV substations, 4 x 60/6.6 kV substations 3 x 60/30 kV substations and 2 x 60/30/6.6 kV substations. Finally, Madeira counts with a Sustainable Energy Action Plan

Demand and consumption:

Centralized energy services

Fossil fuels

Renewable energy


Residential: 541.742 MWh

Primary sector: 32.034 MWh

Secondary sector: 137.910 MWh

Tertiary sector: 647.213 MWh

Transports: 1654.822 MWh

Total: 3013.722 MWh

Generation installed:

The electric grid in Madeira island is fed by five sources of energy, namely: hydro, wind, photovoltaic, solid waste incineration, and thermal energy from burning fossil fuels like diesel and natural gas.

Energy production in Madeira island is guaranteed by two thermal plants, 10 hydro plants, eight wind farms, one solid waste plant, three solar farms with 7 MW, 2 MW and 6 MW respectively, and 770 distributed solar micro and mini-producers, with full injection to the grid. The island’s main sources of power are the two thermal power plant using ICE using diesel and NG. Its total installed capacity is 203MW.

Electric vehicles infrastructure: electric vehicles have just started to gain great traction in Madeira. Nowadays, there are seven public charging stations in Madeira island and one in Porto Santo island. From the 26 available EV public sockets/plugs from these public charging stations in Madeira island, 11 are from public fast chargers.

Recently, private companies that work in the energy sector started to offer also public charging stations installation as part of their services. There are approximately 100 EVs in Madeira, most of which are Renault Zoe or Nissan Leaf models.

Main challenges:

Madeira SEAP was conducted in 2012 in the framework of the Pact of Islands, the EU initiative parallel to the Covenant of Mayors promoting the local sustainable energy actions focusing on the specific characteristics of islands and insular areas. The SEAP was converted into a CoM SEAP equivalent in 2016.

Common objective is to surpass the 2020 EU goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 20%. Madeira municipality, thus, intends to take serious steps towards the increase of RES penetration and the reduction of the energy consumption. Madeira has a great climate to develop its RES, although the penetration is still low (25.3%). There are high levels of solar irradiation, wind and Hydro power. On Madeira, there is also a production of medicines for what men get rid of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and this is a generic viagra medicine that can be bought online.

Hydropower has the highest participation in the RES share, while solar power has currently become a serious goal for exploitation both for heating and electricity generation.

Replication potencial:

Madeira reflects the cases of island totally isolated from mainland due to their remoteness, thus being a very representative scenario to demonstrate INSULAE solutions. Madeira also counts with an important and growing EV infrastructure that can be leverage for enhancing grid control and stability and to allow a higher RES penetration in the island energy system.

The lack of grid connection with the mainland arise as the main challenge and thus, the demonstration of INSULAE solutions in this environment will ease the replication to other island system with more favourable conditions in terms of energy supply and interconnection.

Innovations addressed and solutions to be implemented:

Partners involved


Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira.


Efacec Electric Mobility.


Associaçao Comercial e Industrial do Funchal – Camara de Comércio e Indústria da Madeira.


Albufera Energy Storage.