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Renewable energy sources meet 95% of Portugal’s electricity needs. How did he become a European leader?

Portugal has made huge progress in renewable energy, up from 27% in 2005 and 54% in 2017.

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In April, Portugal generated a “historic” 95 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to network operator REN.

Average renewable energy production was slightly below average in the first four months of the year, meeting 91 percent of the country’s energy needs.

This is one of the nationwide good news in the great continental shift: fossil fuels secured less than a quarter energy in the EU for the first time last month.

Ember, the think tank behind this assessment, also found that more than 30 percent of the world’s electricity is currently generated using renewable energy sources.

“Solar energy in particular is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible” – Dave Jones, Director of Global Insights at Ember tell us.

Which renewable energy sources provide the most energy in Portugal?

Sunny she might not have been the star of the show in the new REN session.

For a third of the year, renewable energy sources accounted for 7% of Portugal’s electricity mix, followed by wind at 30% and hydropower at 48%.

However, “the photovoltaic component continues to grow significantly,” says REN. In April, solar energy had its “highest monthly importance on record” – it covered 10.5% of the country’s electricity consumption.

Fossil gas covered only 9% of demand in the first four months of 2024, and gas consumption in the energy sector was halved compared to the same period in 2023.

Interestingly, the 94.9% share of renewable energy in the electricity mix in April is not a national record. This was established 46 years ago, in May 1978, when the percentage peaked at 95.4%. REN has been contacted for more information on this historic record.

Why is Portugal a clean energy leader in Europe?

Portugal has made huge progress in renewable energy, up from 27 percent in 2005 and 54 percent in 2017.

It is taking decarbonization seriously in a variety of ways, from phasing out coal-fired generation in 2021 to expanding its large hydropower fleet with additional storage capacity.

Since 2019, state renewable energy auctions have been increasing the number of utility-scale projects, providing clear guidelines for green companies.

All this set the stage for several breakthrough moments. For example, six consecutive days last fall actually produced renewable energy exceeded the country’s demand for electricity.

Portugal had the third highest share Wind energy in its electricity mix last year at 29 percent, behind Ireland (36 percent) and Denmark (58 percent).

However, as everywhere, it is not good to rest on the laurels of a renewable leader. A new Ember European Electricity Review report notes that Portugal has still not exceeded the peak level of wind generation achieved in 2019.

This is despite the updated National Energy and Climate Plan, which assumes a “rapid doubling” of current wind farm capacity from 5 GW in 2022 to 12 GW in 2030.