Data analysis of national energy network figures in Portugal has confirmed the country recently ran on renewable energy alone for four consecutive days, setting a new zero emissions landmark.
From 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm on Wednesday 11 May, a mix of solar, wind and hydro power covered all electricity needs for the nation’s almost 11 million inhabitants.
Francisco Ferreira, President of Portuguese sustainability NGO Zero, told UK newspaper The Independent: “Portugal has been investing considerably in renewables, particularly in electricity, since this will be the main final energy within the next decades with the transition from fossil fuels in road transportation to electric vehicles.”
Experts predict the trend will continue.
“This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in just a few years,” James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, told The Guardian newspaper. “The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe.”
Portugal’s wind power capacity has grown exponentially over the past 15 years. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the country only generated 131 MW of electricity from wind in 2001, compared with more than 5 GW in 2015.
“The age of inflexible and polluting technologies is drawing to an end and power will increasingly be provided from clean, renewable sources,” said Mr Watson.
Picture: Serpa solar power plant with horizontal single axis tracking system, Alentejo, Portugal.