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Portugal's Renewable Energy Record: A Harbinger of What's Possible

Country just met all its electric needs from renewables for 107 hours in a row

A wind farm in Madeira, Portugal. (Photo via European Wind Energy Association/flickr/cc)

In what is being hailed as a major achievement, Portugal just generated all of its electricity from renewable sources for more than four days in a row.

According to an analysis of national figures by the Sustainable Land System Association in collaboration with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN), from the morning of May 7 until the early evening on May 11—a total of 107 consecutive hours—"Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power, " the Guardian reports.

APREN president António Sá Costa called it "a harbinger of what will become reality in the near future, which will be 365 days a year."

"This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in Europe in just a few years," the Guardian quotes James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, as saying. "The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe."


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Indeed, Germany also achieved made a renewable milestone this month, having a day when nearly 90 percent of its energy needs were met by renewables, highlighting, according to Climate Nexus journalist Jeremy Deaton, "the success of the Energiewende, or 'energy transition,' Germany’s push to expand clean energy, increase energy efficiency, and democratize power generation."

And SolarPower Europe this month also celebrated (pdf) what it called "unprecedented achievement"—new data showing Europe had installed 100 gigawatts (GW) of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) power.

"Just a few years ago solar was considered to be a niche alternative technology, but it is now a major element of our energy system. In fact solar power is one of the most competitive forms of energy generation in Europe today," said Oliver Schäfer, president of SolarPower Europe.

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