The electricity consumption was fully covered by wind, solar and hydro-generated power for a total of 107 hours
According to a study conducted by the National Energy Network (REN) and the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN), between 6:45 am on Saturday May 7, and 5:45pm the following Wednesday, the country’s electricity consumption was exclusively covered by solar, wind and hydro power. This corresponds to a total of 107 hours, during which it was not necessary to resort to any source of non-renewable electricity production, particularly coal or natural gas. This is the first time Portugal manages to cover its electricity needs with renewable energy for such a long period. In 2013, the country’s electricity network operator announced that renewable energy supplied 70% of total consumption in the first quarter of the year, while in 2011 the country covered all of her electricity needs with renewables for a few hours.
It is impressive that in 2013, renewables provided only 25.7 % of Portugal’s electricity, however that figure had risen to 30.7 % by 2015 (out of which wind power represents the 22%, biomass 5%, small hydro 1.6% and solar 1.5%). The 2020 target for renewables’ share in the Portuguese market was set by EU at 31%. The wind sector in Portugal is growing fast: 550MW of wind capacity were added between 2013 and 2016 and industry groups now have their sights firmly set on the green energy’s export potential, both within and outside Europe.
Portugal seems to follow the trend of other European countries, such as Denmark and Germany. “This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in Europe in just a few years. The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe”, CEO of SolarPower Europe James Watson told Arthur Neslen of The Guardian.