Just a few days after it was found that Germany was producing so much energy from renewables that they effectively had to pay consumers to use it, yet another country has hit another renewable milestone. Portugal managed to keep its lights on for four consecutive days, powered only by renewables.
Data analysis of the country’s national energy network figures reveal that all electricity consumption was covered by solar, wind, and hydro power from 6.45 a.m UTC on Saturday, May 7 until 5.45 p.m UTC Wednesday, May 11. This impressive feat is just one of a number to have come out of Europe over the last year or so, from Germany last week, to Denmark last year breaking its own record by generating 42 percent of its electricity in 2015 by wind power alone.
“This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in Europe in just a few years,” explains James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe, to The Guardian. “The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe.”
The country has come a long way in its commitments to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and switching to more sustainable energy sources. With the milestone being hit in the spring, the energy companies hope that summer will be equally as successful. And all this from a country that only three years ago generated half of its energy from burning fuel, and almost a third from nuclear. By last year, however, they managed to turn things around, so that now renewables on average account for just under half of all electricity generation.
“These data show that Portugal can be more ambitious in a transition to a net consumption of electricity from 100% renewable, with huge reductions in emissions of greenhouse gasses, which cause global warming and consequently climate change,” said the Portuguese sustainability NGO, Zero, in a statement. The recent 107-hour stretch has been put down not just to favorable weather conditions, but also better management of the energy grid.
Portugal just goes to show that it is entirely possible to rapidly shift from a nation heavily reliant on fossil fuels, to one which can be powered in large parts by renewables, despite what many opponents say. This milestone is another marker, of which many more will come over the following months and years, as more and more nations not just in Europe but around the world embrace clean energy.