Portugal runs on renewable power for the whole of March
Portugal has produced so much renewable electricity that it has outstripped the entire country’s consumption for the month of March.
The national grid operator, REN, has announced that renewables generated 4,812 gigawatt hours (GWh) over the month while demand from mainland Portugal reached 4,647 GWh, meaning renewables accounted for 103.6 percent of electricity consumption.
This is also the highest amount in 40 years, according to APREN, the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association. The next closest was 99.2% in February 2014.
The high levels of renewable energy meant that a total of 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 was avoided, an important figure given Portugal’s target of becoming entirely carbon neutral. It also had a positive impact on the cost of electricity. The average wholesale market price for March was €39.75 per megawatt hour, 4 euros cheaper than the same time last year.
Portugal has been an early adopter of renewable technologies in Europe; the Atlantic-facing country has high levels of wind energy, hydropower and solar. In 2016, it also made headlines when renewables powered the entire country for four days straight.
Further growth in renewables, combined with a wet and windy March, has led to this latest milestone. Wind and hydro combined contributed 97 percent of electricity throughout the month.
In a statement, APREN said that last month’s achievement will soon become the norm in the country: “In fact, it is expected that by 2040 the production of renewable electricity will be able to guarantee, in a cost-effective way, the total annual electricity consumption of Mainland Portugal. However, it will eventually be necessary, here and then, the use of natural gas power plants, aggregated to interconnections and storage.”
Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina