Portugal meets more than their energy demands with renewable sources

Flying over renewable energy plant
Portugal soar over the renewable energy goal set by the EU. Photo by Keith Lightbody via Wikimedia Commons

Portugal has become the first country in the 21st century to achieve all of their energy needs through renewable sources. The Energy Union is pushing to increase the renewable energy capacity and Portugal was able to achieve that in March this year.

Portugal’s previous highest renewable energy percentage was recorded in February in 2014 where they managed to produce 99.2 percent of the country’s energy expenditure. March’s average totalled at 103.6 percent from renewable sources which made history by showing other nations that the goal is possible.

The Iberian nation’s transmission system operator reported that the renewable energy output for Portugal reached 4,812 GWh which surpassed the intended 4,647 GWh that the country needed for the month of March. The incredible feat was very impressive considering that during March last year they were only able to produce 62 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

News of Portugal’s success spread across Europe with a Green Member of Parliament for the EU tweeting that it was impressive progress and that the EU should definitely support a renewable energy target in 2030 for more than 27 percent.

There are current negotiations being discussed with the European Parliament commission to up the renewable energy target. Currently members of parliaments are calling for a 35 percent target while the current decision from the EU executive and national capitols is only a target of 27 percent.

The renewable energy association for Portugal and the sustainability NGO ZERO did the math to find that the success from the clean energy development in March will lead to 1.8 million tonnes less of CO2 emissions being pumped into the atmosphere. The reduction will allow the country to also save over €20 million due to a reduction in the need for emission allowances.

The Green groups of Portugal also figured out that the increase of renewable energy production caused the price of energy to drop for consumers. Rather than the usual €43.94 per MWh in March last year, they only had to pay €39.75 per MWh.

While the news of more than 100 percent energy may seem like a huge victory, the results weren’t achieved solely through renewable sources. During some periods imports and fossil fuels were required to balance the power supply. Regarding those facts the Portugal renewable energy association and ZERO noted during those periods the need for the fossil fuels was cancelled out due to the over production of energy.

Regardless, Portugal’s efforts are a good sign for the world to combat the reliance on fossil fuel based energy production. If other European nations follow suit, the EU will easily be able to achieve their goal of 27 percent.