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Portugal Achieves Milestone: Over Half Its Electricity Now from Wind and Solar

Portugal Achieves Milestone: Over Half Its Electricity Now from Wind and Solar

Renewable energy in Portugal achieves a significant milestone, with wind and solar sources collectively contributing more than half (51%) of the country’s electricity supply in April, according to Ember. This achievement surpasses the previous record of 49% set in December 2021.

Portugal’s remarkable 50% electricity generation from wind and solar sources is particularly noteworthy given the relatively modest wind power generation. The surge in solar capacity deployment propelled solar generation to an all-time peak of 360 GWh in April, substantially exceeding the prior record of 300 GWh observed in July and August 2022. Portugal significantly enhanced its solar capacity by installing 0.9 GW of solar photovoltaics last year, marking a more than 50% increase to reach 2.5 GW.

The upswing in solar power generation, coupled with electricity imports from Spain and reduced demand, played a pivotal role in mitigating the adverse impacts of reduced hydroelectric generation, ensuring that fossil generation accounted for merely 24% of the total in April. The lingering effects of droughts in several Mediterranean countries, including Portugal, Spain, and Italy, had resulted in reduced output from hydroelectric power stations.

Matt Ewen, Data Analyst at Ember, observed, “Portugal is embarking on the next phase of its energy transition. The synergy of wind power and interconnections enabled Portugal to phase out coal in 2021, and now solar is driving gas out of the energy grid.”

The surge in wind and solar energy wasn’t confined to Portugal alone; neighbouring Spain also witnessed record-breaking solar generation in April, totaling 4.2 TWh (22%). Expectations are high for even greater records during the summer months, traditionally the peak season for solar generation. In Spain, a combination of wind and solar sources accounted for 46% of electricity production. Considering imports, the Iberian Peninsula nations collectively met 49% of their electricity demand with wind and solar sources in April.

The impressive growth and consistent performance of wind and solar energy paved the way for record achievements across various EU countries this spring. Sweden, for instance, reached an all-time high in February, with over a quarter (27%) of its electricity sourced from wind and solar. Finland also experienced a record in April, with wind and solar contributing to 29% of its total generation. Belgium recorded its highest-ever wind and solar generation, constituting 2 TWh and 29% of electricity supply in April.

Ember. (2023). Wind and solar produce more than half of Portugal’s electricity for the first time. [online] Available at: https://ember-climate.org/press-releases/wind-and-solar-produce-more-than-half-of-portugals-electricity-for-the-first-time/.