Almost a week of green energy: Portugal has set a new record. And it also had monetary benefits for the country's inhabitants.
An entire country powered by sustainable electricity: in Portugal, this was a reality for almost a week at the beginning of this month. During this time, households, offices, and public institutions were managed without electricity from gas-fired power plants and other fossil fuels or nuclear power plants.
Between 31 October and 6 November, all the electricity used in Portugal came from wind, hydro and solar power. During this period, 1,102 GWh was produced from renewable energy sources, supplying the country's more than 10 million inhabitants.
This period mentioned above totaled 149 hours, beating Portugal's previous record of 131 hours from 2019.
Gas-fired power plants were still operating during this period and were available as backup solutions. However, they were not needed, as Hugo Costa, the head of the wind power company EDP Renováveis, said.
Of course, this positively affects the environment - but it also directly benefits the residents' wallets.
Portugal produced [electricity] positively impacting consumers because prices have fallen.
The country signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 along with 196 other nations, envisaging limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and, in the best-case scenario, even below 1.5 degrees Celsius - a target that is now unlikely to be achieved.
Portugal has also committed itself to becoming climate-neutral by 2050. The country closed its last coal-fired power plant in 2021, and gas consumption has been at its lowest since 2006. The nation has never relied on nuclear power and has no plans to do so. The recent six-day test has demonstrated that Portugal's energy network is fit for the future.
Its power grid is ready for a very high proportion of electricity from renewables and the expected fluctuations:
The country can handle both a sharp increase in hydro and wind power generation and a return to lower levels of renewables when natural gas power plants are used to meet part of the country's energy demand.
What does that mean for us? Portugal is well ahead of many other European countries regarding sustainable energy.
Together with the coal phase-out, the aim is to become less dependent on fossil fuel imports and, at the same time, generate energy in an almost greenhouse gas-neutral way.