Portugal reaches a new renewable energy milestone for MarchApril 18, 2018
Grid operator reports that Portugal has generated some 4,812 GW of renewable power in March
Portugal has reached a major milestone with its energy strategy. The country’s renewable energy sector was able to generate enough electricity to accommodate all of its needs during the month of March. The Portuguese grid operator, REN, has reported that some 4,812 gigawatts of electrical power were generated through renewable sources in March. Throughout that entire month, the country only consumed 4,647 gigawatts.
Heavy rainfall allows dams to produce more electricity
The majority of this clean energy came from Portugal’s hydroelectric dams. The dams accounted for 55% of monthly energy consumption. The country had been suffering from an extended drought, but recently experienced rainfall that was four times the monthly average that it would normally experience. This allowed the country’s dams to generate considerably more electricity than what has been seen in the past. Notably, wind energy accounted for 42% of the electricity that Portugal consumed during March, with turbines takes advantage of strong wind currents that the country experienced.
Government is ending subsidies that have supported fossil-fuels
The milestone comes at an auspicious time for Portugal. The government recently announced that it will suspend its annual subsidies supporting fossil-fuels. Much of these subsidies had gone to energy producers that were required to leave their power facilities on stand-by mode. Renewable energy is rapidly beginning to replace coal as Portugal continues its work to become more environmentally friendly and cut emissions. By 2040, Portugal expects that renewable energy will be able to satisfy all of its electricity needs.
Portugal may have to diversify its focus in order to overcome challenges
While clean power has been gaining ground in Portugal, it still faces some challenges. The performance of wind turbines and hydroelectric dams is heavily reliant on the environment. Without sufficient rainfall, dams will not be able to produce enough electricity to be considered viable. Weak wind currents could leave some wind farms inoperable. Portugal may need to diversify its focus and incorporate other forms of renewable energy in order to accomplish its future environmental goals.