Portugal shows off in March, flirting with 100% renewable energy goal

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An aerial view of the dam of Vilarinho da Furna on Homem River in Portugal

Portugal generated more renewable energy in March than it consumed, with renewable energy generation meeting 103.6 percent of mainland Portugal’s electricity demand.

About 55 percent was produced by hydropower generated by dams, like the Vilarinho da Furna dam pictured above, and 42 percent came from wind. Fossil fuels were used to make up the difference in supply and demand when needed.

“There were some hours when thermal fossil power plants and/or imports were required to complement the electricity supply of Portugal,” the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) reported. “These periods were nevertheless fully compensated by others of greater renewable production.”

That doesn’t mean renewables generated all the electricity Portugal needed every day, however — but the country is making huge gains toward this goal. For example, around 86 percent of energy needs were met by renewables on March 7, while 143 percent were met on March 11. And for two 70-hour spans, the entire country was powered by renewable energy.

In 2016, Portugal ran on 100 percent renewable energy for 107 hours straight.

APREN expects this pattern to continue and forecasts that by 2040, renewable energy will supply all of mainland Portugal’s power.

Related on MNN: More than 100 cities get 70 percent or more of their energy from renewables

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