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Renewables cover 89% of Portugal’s electricity needs in first quarter of 2024

Graphic: Sean Creighton/The Progress Playbook
Graphic: Sean Creighton/The Progress Playbook

Renewable energy technologies supplied 89% of Portugal’s electricity requirements in the first three months of 2024, according to grid operator Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN).

That’s up from 73% in the same quarter last year, and 62% for the full 2023 calendar year, per REN data. The year-on-year increase was largely driven by a rebound in hydro output, although wind and solar advanced as well, driven in part by an ambitious procurement programme that started in 2019.

Hydroelectric facilities covered 47% of consumption in the first quarter, wind 31%, solar PV 6%, and biomass 5%. Fossil gas accounted for the remaining 11%. The solar figure excludes behind-the-meter rooftop installations, which show up in reduced demand for power from the grid.

The use of gas-fired turbines was down 43% versus a year before as the contribution from renewables climbed. As a result, Portuguese gas consumption across all sectors declined to the lowest level since 2014.

In mid-March, REN said record wind, solar and hydro output levels “confirm that Portugal has maintained a sustainable trajectory in the gradual incorporation of endogenous renewable sources, while maintaining the primary objectives of supply security and service quality.”

The country, which was powered entirely by renewables for six consecutive days in November 2023, plans to get to 92% renewable electricity on an annual basis by 2030.

To achieve that, it aims to install a cumulative 20GW of solar, 10GW of onshore wind, 10GW of hydro, biomass and other renewables, and 2GW of offshore wind capacity.

The country’s electricity mix has changed fast, with the share of renewables up from 27% in 2005 and 54% in 2017. The last coal-fired power plant was shut in 2021.

Portugal trades electricity with Spain, which also sources the majority of its power from renewables.

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