Portugal has hit a significant milestone in its bid to become entirely depended on renewable energy after running for four days without using any fossil fuels. Portugal relied heavily on coal and natural gas.
Electricity consumption in Portugal was fully covered by solar, wind and hydropower from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm on Wednesday 11 May.
The numbers, released by Portugal’s ZERO System Sustainable Land Association in collaboration with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN), indicate that the nation has come a long way regarding embracing clean energy in recent decades.
Oliver Joy, a spokesman for the Wind Europe trade association, said: “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.”
James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “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.”
As recently as 2013, Portugal generated half its electricity from combustible fuels, with 27% coming from nuclear, 13% from hydro, 7.5% from the wind and 3% from solar, according to Eurostat figures. By last year, the figure had flipped, with wind providing 22% of electricity and all renewable sources together providing 48%, according to the Portuguese renewable energy association.
Portugal added 550MW of wind capacity between 2013 and 2016, and industry groups now have their sights firmly set on the green energy’s export potential, within Europe and without.
The country has made huge improvements after previously being considered one of Europe’s biggest producers of CO2 emissions. In 2009, an EU directive set a target of a 31 percent share of renewable energy sources to be part of Portugal’s energy mix by 2020.