The Bemposta dam and hydropower station in Bemposta, Miranda do Douro, Portugal. Photo Credit: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Environment Portugal21. December 2023

Renewable Power Hits Six-Day Record

For six consecutive days, Portugal ran exclusively on renewable power sources, producing enough wind, solar, and hydropower to serve its entire population of 10 million.

“The gas plants were there, waiting to dispatch energy, should it be needed. It was not because the wind was blowing; it was raining a lot,” explains Hugo Costa, who oversees Portugal for EDP Renewables. ​“And we were producing with a positive impact to the consumers because the prices have dropped dramatically, almost to zero.”

The six-day record – from October 31 to November 6 – refers to the 149 consecutive hours in which ​“energy from renewable sources exceeded the industrial and household consumption needs across the country.” Portugal’s latest record of 131 hours – so a little over five days – was reached in 2019. When Portugal started its journey towards decarbonization, it already relied on hydropower and didn’t have nuclear capacity – nor did it plan to build any plants. Therefore, the country had to maximize new renewables to reduce fossil fuel use. In 2016, Portugal pledged to reach the 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions, many years before the European Union took that step. Portugal’s last coal plants shut down in 2022, leaving (imported) fossil gas as the backstop for on-demand power. Gas generation accounts for 21% of electricity consumption today, and authorities want to end it by 2040.

Canary Media

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