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Portugal sets 'important' new renewable energy record as production outstrips demand

View of a hybrid power park with solar panels and wind turbines in Sabugal, Portugal.
View of a hybrid power park with solar panels and wind turbines in Sabugal, Portugal. Copyright REUTERS/Pedro Nunes
Copyright REUTERS/Pedro Nunes
By Euronews Green
Published on
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Portugal produced more renewable energy than its electricity needs for the longest period ever this week.

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From 31 October to 6 November, renewable energy production exceeded the country’s electricity needs for 149 hours straight, setting a new record.

Over six consecutive days, 1102 GWh of electricity was generated compared to the 840 GWh the country consumed during the same period. Production surpassed the energy needs of households and industry by 262 GWh.

The previous record, set in 2019, was 131 hours where supply exceeded demand.

Portugal exported excess electricity to Spain

Two more records were also set during this period. For 131 hours from 31 October 2023, renewable energy exceeded the needs of the entire National Electric System - including requirements for pumping at hydroelectric reservoirs. This feat was achieved without resorting to conventional thermal power generation sources, like Natural Gas Combined Cycle Plants.

Visitors in a boat observe the turbines of the WindFloat Atlantic Project, a floating offshore wind-power generating platform, 20 kilometers off the coast in Viana do Castelo.
Visitors in a boat observe the turbines of the WindFloat Atlantic Project, a floating offshore wind-power generating platform, 20 kilometers off the coast in Viana do Castelo.VIOLETA SANTOS MOURA/REUTERS

And between 1 November and 5 November, there were 95 consecutive hours in which renewable production was greater than consumption, without the need for Natural Gas Combined Cycle Plants and Portugal was able to export electricity to Spain.

“These important records are proof that Portugal has been on a sustainable track in the progressive incorporation of native renewable sources, keeping the fundamental goals of security of supply and quality of service,” grid operator REN said.

What are Portugal’s renewable energy goals?

Portugal is aiming to generate 85 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It hopes to decommission all of its natural gas-fired power stations by 2040 and become carbon neutral by 2045 - five years earlier than its original commitment.

In October, renewable energy generated 67 per cent of the country’s power needs, mostly due to favourable conditions for hydropower and wind power, according to REN. Wind alone had a historic high last month in Portugal, breaking a record for how much energy it produced in one day.

Since the beginning of the year, renewables have satisfied 56 per cent of the country’s energy requirements. Wind made up 24 per cent of that, hydropower 18 per cent, solar power 8 per cent and biomass 6 per cent.

Natural (or fossil) gas produced 21 per cent of Portugal’s energy and the remaining 23 per cent was imported from other countries.

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