Renewable energy is often seen as a minor source of power requirements when compared to the more established avenues. However, a landmark in the use of renewable energy has recently been achieved in Portugal.
Analysis has shown that for four days in May 2016, Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy. From the 7th until the 11th of May, all of Portugal’s business and home energy needs were met by electricity derived from wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
It’s worth noting that this followed legal action against Portugal and eight other member states by the European Commission in 2011. The litigation came about due to those states’ failure to implement measures in line with EU laws on air quality, and thereby to reduce the effects of air pollution on public and environmental health.
Since then, Portugal has invested heavily to reduce the amount of pollution created by the generation of energy, and as a result 550MW of wind capacity was added over the next four years. Then in 2015 nearly a quarter of the country’s energy requirements were derived from wind power – in total, 48% of the country’s electricity needs came from renewable sources in that year.
Oliver Joy is a spokesperson for the industry group Wind Europe. He said: “The Iberian peninsula is a great resource for renewables and wind energy, not just for the region but for the whole of Europe. An increased build-out of interconnectors, a reformed electricity market and political will are all essential. But with the right policies in place, wind could meet a quarter of Europe’s power needs in the next 15 years”