Portugal’s renewable energy sources generated enough power to exceed total grid demand across the month of March, a new report has found, setting a standard that is expected to become the norm for the European nation. According to Portuguese grid operator, REN, renewable energy output over the month reached 4,812GWh, surpassing the nation’s total electricity needs for March, which only topped 4,647GWh. In that time, power generated by Portugal’s hydroelectric dams accounted for 55 percent of monthly consumption – boosted by drought-breaking rainfall of four times the monthly average – and wind power, 42 percent.
The achievement comes nearly one year after hydro, wind, and solar power helped push the country to run on 100 percent renewable electricity for 107 hours straight. Last March, however, the average renewables supply was 62 percent. The new record coincides with the move by the Portuguese government, last Tuesday, to suspend annual subsidies of around $20 million for guaranteed power supplies paid to producers – most of which goes to fossil fuel plants left in standby mode.
The effort was also praised by Green MEP Claude Turmes, who cited Portugal’s example as evidence that the EU should support a renewable energy target of more than 27 percent for 2030. As Euractive reports, the European Parliament, Commission, and member states are currently negotiating an update to the bloc’s renewable rules, with MEPs calling for a 35 percent renewables target, while the EU executive and national capitals favor the current target. Portugal’s renewable energy target, meanwhile, is not all that much higher. According to the International Energy Agency, it has a 2020 target of just 31 percent; 59.6 percent to come through renewable electricity demand, 35.9 percent from heating and cooling, and 11.3 percent from the transport sector.