Renewables power Portugal for four days straight

Portugal last week ran on clean energy for 107 uninterrupted hours, or more than four days, as solar, wind and hydropower covered 100% of electricity consumption.

Data analysis of Portugal’s national energy network provided by clean energy watchdog ZERO revealed that between 6.45am on Saturday May 7, through to 5.45pm on Wednesday May 11, all electricity demand was met by a combination of solar, wind and hydro.

SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson told the Guardian that this data – which came just days after Germany broke further records for renewable energy supply – is a significant achievement that will, in time, become somewhat commonplace on the continent. "The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe," Watson said.

"The age of inflexible and polluting technologies is drawing to an end, and power will increasingly be provided from clean, renewable sources."

Portugal’s solar sector has slowed in recent years following something of a mini boom in and around 2013. By the middle of 2014 the country had a cumulative installed capacity of 330 MW, but severe cuts to the feed-in tariff (FIT) stunted growth, particularly in the micro- and mini-system market, which had driven much of the solar sector.

The country was previously heavily reliant on fossil fuel for its power. In 2013 combustible fuels met around half of the nation’s energy, but by last year renewables accounted for 48% of installed capacity, according to the Portuguese renewable energy association.

However, while wind power comprised 22% of Portugal’s clean energy output in 2015, solar’s share was a mere 1.5%, the data shows.

Alongside Portugal’s and Germany’s clean energy successes in recent weeks, the U.K. last week enjoyed a seven-day period when solar PV generated more electricity than coal for the first time ever. Between May 3 and May 9, solar output was consistently above coal, peaking at close to 60 GWh on Tuesday May 3, and staying close to 50 GWh for the next few days, data from Carbonbrief.org revealed.