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Municipality of Fundao

Geography and climate 

Fundão, a municipality located in the Castelo Branco District, Centro region (NUT II), Cova da Beira sub-region (NUT III), occupies an area of approximately 700 km² and its population accounts to 26,503 inhabitants (Instituto Nacional de Estatística, 2022).

Despite its peripheral situation in relation to the national context, within the geographical framework of Beira Interior Urban Axis, Fundão benefits from its proximity to three important urban areas of polycentrism in the Centre Region, namely Covilhã to north, Guarda to the northeast and Castelo Branco to south (Figure 1). It is a territory consisting of various landscapes as well as geographic, historical, cultural, natural, and architectural contexts, which make it a place of contrasts and reflect a valuable cultural and physical heritage. As a low-density rural territory, agricultural production, complemented by a strong commercial tradition in the city of Fundão, is the region’s main sector and has been for centuries.

Particularly relevant to this project, with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we would like to highlight SDG 7 – Renewable and Accessible Energy and SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, in which the Municipality of Fundão has an index of 70.3 and 44.4 respectively. Regarding SDG 13 – Climate action and SDG 15 – Protecting life on land, the municipality of Fundão has an index of 49.5 and 64.1 respectively.

In September 2023, the municipality of Fundão was one of the first six Portuguese cities to be classified as an SDG city under the SDG Cities Global Initiative – Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability and its promotion in the community are a constant concern for the municipality, and it has been distinguished as an “ECOXXI 2023 Municipality”, in a distinction that aims to recognise the efforts made to implement policies towards sustainability, with particular emphasis on education, environmental quality, territory and social development.

The Municipality of Fundão has been implementing several initiatives to improve energy efficiency and promote renewable energy sources, including participation in various inter-municipal and cross-border projects. Furthermore, the municipality of Fundão and its neighbouring counties have received several private investments in so-called clean energy. Fundão already produces four and a half times more energy than it consumes, and with the new private investment projects coming to fruition, energy production from renewable sources is set to soar in the coming years, far exceeding regional needs and increasing the region’s contribution to national clean energy production. According to the General Directorate of Energy and Geology, the municipality’s electricity consumption in 2020 will be 92 GWh, with renewable energy production already reaching 423 GWh. Two years ago, Fundão was already an energy exporter, a status that will be reinforced by another series of investments planned for the sector. In 2020, the installed capacity for renewable energy production in the municipality of Fundão was 144 MW. However, this is expected to increase in the coming years as the municipality continues to attract private investors.

Referencing the Municipality of Fundão practices and comparing Fundão’s main energy indicators with the nationwide one’s, it appears that the energy intensity in the Municipality is lower than the national average, as well as the per capita energy consumption.

Further, the future development towards a sustainable and resilient Fundão has been discussed intensively over the last years. Due to the framework conditions and location factors, the available potentials, infrastructures, companies, know-how carriers, the people and the networking with research partners, the chance is very high to develop a climate-resilient and CO2-neutral city with a model character.