CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech news & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today!The future is now.

Clean Power

Published on May 21st, 2016 | by Adam Johnston


100% Renewable Electricity In Portugal For 4 Days!

May 21st, 2016 by  

100% Renewable resources helped power Portugal for four days last week.

According to a report from Portugal sent to CleanTechnica this week, hydro, wind, and solar power helped push the European country to run on 100% renewable electricity for 107 hours straight.


Parque Eolico Lousa Portugal Wind Farms via Wikipedia. By CorreiaPM (Public Domain).

The article said that, from May 7th at 6:45 am, to 5:45 pm on May 11th, Portugal’s electricity use was powered by only wind, solar, and hydro sources.

“If rain and wind allow these records in the spring, it is imperative to encourage and assess the sun’s energy use of capital gains and thus ensure that in the summer too we will have significant contributions from energy sources not gas stations pollutants,” environmentalists from the country noted.

Notably, this is all with rather weak and limited connections to other grids.

“These data show that Portugal can be more ambitious in a transition to a net consumption of electricity from 100% renewable with huge reductions of emissions of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming and consequent climate change,” said Portugal’s Sustainable Land Association (ZERO), which worked with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) to analyze data from the National Energy Network (REN) in order to announce this new record.

Both ZERO and APREN also said electric vehicles should have emphasis in helping to transition towards a low-carbon economy, as they are now the main sector responsible for Portuguese emissions.

Portugal has some great renewable energy sources. Portugal’s solar potential is very strong, but so are its wind and hydro resources.

While there has been some upswing in Portugal’s renewable energy capacity (which made up 25.4% of the country’s primary energy supply in 2014, according to an International Energy Agency report).

In April, 80% of Portugal’s electricity came from renewables, and the figure is 75% for the first 4 months of 2016 (h/t heinbloed).

But the 2020 renewable energy target for Portugal, in terms of total gross final energy consumptions, is just 31%. “This will come from a 59.6% contribution of renewables to electricity demand, a 35.9% contribution to heating and cooling and an 11.3% contribution from the transport sector,” the IEA writes.

Portugal has not been the only European country in having success in powering their electricity from renewables. Germany recently came very close to powering its system with 100% renewables. The question now remains to be seen: If areas like Portugal and Germany can boost their electricity with high levels of renewables, is there a day in the near future where countries like Canada, the USA, and China reach 100% renewable electricity for a day?

Complete our 2017 CleanTechnica Reader Survey — have your opinions, preferences, and deepest wishes heard.

Check out our 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

  • A period of 96 hours on 100% renewables took place between the 12th and the 15th of February. This is not that uncommon, it only takes a good Atlantic storm.

    For whatever reason, the media finds it more appealing this time.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let me explain the “whatever reason” to you.

      During all the storms that hit Portugal prior to February there was now enough renewable capacity online to produce 100% of Portugal’s electricity.

      That milestone was reached in February 2016. It’s news. It’s a marker along our road off fossil fuels.

  • Scott Gordon

    Mean while back in the stock holder meeting room of the local electric utility, Stock holders are trying to console each other over their monetary losses

  • For the newer readers of CleanTechnica, there was a line in this article that may cause confusion. Adam Johnston wrote: “…helped push the European country to run on 100% renewable electricity…” A country runs on more energy than electricity such as fossil fuels as well for transportation, heating/cooling, cooking, industry, etc. Electricity is just one energy source. The good news is that the reported achievement of 4 straight days running all of its electrical needs from renewables is significant.

    In the coming decades, the devices that use energy will need to be converted to electricity (transportation from fossil fuels to EVs for example) so that the claim can be made, and this will happen, that countries will run on purely renewable energy.

  • In Germany there was a day of 100% renewable electricity use. The day I’m remembering was on Sunday when industry is largely at rest. (There may have been two Sundays–not sure–maybe someone can clarify.)

    The fact that Portugal’s 4 days (May 7-11) were Saturday through Tuesday is impressive in the fact that two weekdays are included.

  • TatuSaloranta

    I think it would be good to also report actual breakdown of production: report mentioned that while wind produces sizable chunk (~20%?), solar is pretty low (2%?), so basically what could be said is that Hydropower produced almost all electricity in Portugal for 4 days.

    That is, while progress, it’s not quite as impressive. There are other countries with similarly huge amounts of hydropower that can claim “no co2 from electricity production” for a while (Sweden, Norway, Brazil perhaps?).

  • tibi stibi

    interesting that the country that was almost bankrupt a couple off years ago now has so much green energy. while Holland one of the riches countries in Europa still is struggling to meet the 14% goal in 2020 :'(

    • LookingForward

      I know, I hate my country! Lol, the government need to get of their *sses.
      Good enough is good, not great, for decades now the government has the policy of being just good enough with everything, never striving greatness….

    • Ammaross Danan

      I would think Holland doesn’t have as plentiful locations for Hydro (unless you’re talking offshore tidal…), which is likely what’s allowing them to use “100% renewables” overnight. Wind, on the other hand, should be readily available.

    • Portugal is much closer to bankruptcy now than a couple of years ago. Just check the debt to GDP ratio.

      Luckily, the renewable energy programmes were all already into place when the EU kicked off its impoverishment agenda.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Yes, lucky for Portugal that they have as much renewable capacity as they do. That means much less need to purchase fossil fuel.

  • Al

    Deputinizing the european energy economy

    • Particularly since Portugal imports Gas from Algeria.

  • Bristolboy

    Hopefully before long rather than it being 4 days it will be 4 weeks, and then 4 months and then year round.

    • heinbloed

      They are on the very best way.
      Another 270 MWp hydro-power should be added this year and an extra 880MWp until 2021. The latter project would have later when finished a total capacity 1.158GW

    • Four weeks of storms is not something I am looking forwards to.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Shouldn’t you be at your weekend troll training session?

Back to Top ↑