Portugal’s renewable energy production exceeded its electricity consumption in March this year, according to data from the country’s transmission system operator REN.
It was found that 4,647GWh of green power was produced over the month, accounting for 103.6% in electricity demand – the highest level recorded in 40 years.
This is estimated to have avoided 1.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions, and was largely thanks to Portugal’s large hydroelectric capacity, which accounted for 55% of the monthly consumption.
The Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) and sustainability group ZERO said in a joint statement that the achievement is an example of “what will happen more frequently in the near future”.
“Besides indicating a historic milestone in the Portuguese electricity sector, this data demonstrates the technical viability, security and reliability of the operation of the electrical system with a large share of renewable electricity,” they said.
“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.”
The REN data shows that renewable energy accounted for 86% of Portuguese energy consumption on 7 March, and for a maximum of 143% four days later.
It was also found that 100% of electricity was supplied by renewable energy for a 70-hour period starting on 9 March, and for another period of 69 hours beginning 12 March.
This had a positive influence on lowering the average daily wholesale market price, which was €39.75/MWh, compared to €43.94/MWh over the same period last year when renewables accounted for 62% of consumption.
There were some hours in March when thermal fossil power plants and imports were required to compliment electricity supply, but these were compensated by other periods of greater renewable energy production.
APREN and ZERO said it was vital that national policies and the EU framework ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ enable Portugal to meet its carbon neutrality objectives by 2050.
This would include: “Ensuring a strong expansion of solar energy and allowing decarbonisation through the increase of electricity demand in the transport and heating and cooling sectors.”
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