Portugal Powers All Of Its Electricity With Renewable Energy For Four Days


Portugal powered all of its electricity with only renewable energy for four days last week, according to a report by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association and Zero, a renewable energy association.

For a total of 107 hours – between 6:45 a.m. May 7 to 5:45 p.m. May 11 – the country generated all the electricity it needed from a combination of solar, wind and hydro power, the analysis concluded.

Portugal’s impressive zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that it had powered nearly all of its electricity with renewable sources. On May 15, Germany’s power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods throughout the day.

We are seeing trends like this spread across Europe – last year with Denmark and now in Portugal. The Iberian peninsula is a great resource for renewables and wind energy, not just for the region but for the whole of Europe,said Oliver Joy, a spokesman for the Wind Europe trade association

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,” said James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe.

Last year, renewable sources providing 48% of the country’s electricity, with as much as 22% being provided by wind power alone, according to the Portuguese renewable energy association. Portugal also uses hydroelectric, wave, geothermal, solar power and biofuels – the renewable cousins to fossil fuels.

Although the EU’s renewable targets for 2020 have spurred Portugal’s clean energy surge, support schemes for new wind capacity were reduced in 2012. However, this did not hinder the country’s plans; between 2013 and 2016, Portugal added 550MW of wind capacity.

As a result, the country is rapidly increasing the amount of energy it generates from renewable sources. In 2013, about 26% of Portugal’s energy was generated from renewable sources. By 2015, that had grown to more than 50%.

This trend can also be seen across Europe; in 2015, as much as 42% of Denmark’s electricity demand was met by wind power alone, 20% in Spain, 13% in Germany and 11% in the UK.

An increased build-out of interconnectors, a reformed electricity market and political will are all essential,” Joy said. “But with the right policies in place, wind could meet a quarter of Europe’s power needs in the next 15 years.

In fact, countries such as Latvia, Austria, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland were able to generate the majority of their electricity need from renewable sources in 2014.

The age of inflexible and polluting technologies is drawing to an end and power will increasingly be provided from clean, renewable sources,Watson said.

Image: Flickr, petter palander

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