For the first time this century, Portugal has delivered more electricity from renewable energy than it has used.

Environmental groups have welcomed this as a major milestone after years of investment in renewable energy.

According to the Portuguese electricity network operator, the renewable energy produced in March was 4,812 GWh and this was more than what was consumed in mainland Portugal which was 4,647 GWh.

The renewable energy association of Portugal, ARPEN, and Portuguese environmental group, ZERO, welcomed the news in a joint statement.

“This data, besides indicating a historical milestone in the Portuguese electricity sector, demonstrate the technical viability, security and reliability of the operation of the Electrical System, with a large share of renewable electricity. The previous maximum occurred in February of 2014 with 99.2%,” they said.

“In terms of resources, the main highlight goes to hydro and wind that accounted, respectively, for 55 % and 42 % of the monthly consumption. The total March production of renewables also avoided the emission of 1.8 million tons of CO2, which translated in savings of 21 million euros in the acquisition of emission allowances. In this analysis it is also worth noting the high monthly export balance of 19 % of the electricity consumption of Mainland Portugal (878 GWh).”

The renewable energy production amounted to 103.6% of consumption. During some hours of peak demand imported electricity and coal-fired power plants were used but this was compensated for by other periods of high production.

This renewable share had a positive influence on lowering of the average daily wholesale market price, which was 39.75 €/MWh, price much lower than the same period of last year
(43.94 €/MWh) when the weight of renewables in the electricity consumption was only 62 %.

ARPEN and ZERO added:

“We consider it vital that national public policies and the European framework called “Clean Energy for All Europeans”, which is currently in the final phase of decision, should enable Portugal to meet its carbon neutrality objectives by 2050, ensuring a strong expansion of solar energy and allowing decarbonisation through the increase of electricity demand in the transport and in the heating and cooling sectors.”

In March, the daily share of renewable electricity in the consumption had a minimum of 86 %, on March 7, and a maximum of 143 %, on March 11. It should also be highlighted a 70-hour period, beginning on day 9, when the consumption was fully assured by renewable sources and another period of 69 hours, beginning at day 12.