Pinho took a similar approach to hydroelectric power, putting up for competitive bid long-term licenses to build and operate a dozen new or expanded dams. Bidders can also extend the life of the licenses if they agree to enter long-term contracts to buy nighttime power from the country’s wind producers and use it to pump water from reservoirs below the dams back up to the reservoirs above. Energy gets stored during those hours when demand is low and used the next day when demand is at its peak.
What’s noteworthy is that all this was done without a government subsidy
The portugese sound pretty smart, but Pearlstein sounds pretty stupid. A longer licensing period is pretty obviously a thing of value, especially for a dam, because once the capital costs have been paid off (during the initial license period) the profits from selling power are substantial. In short, the government is giving the companies a bunch of money to get them to do something (which happens to be profitable in its own right) that the government wants them to do. On my planet, we call this a subsidy.