An exciting renewable energy feat in Europe shows us just what a sustainable energy future will look like – and that future is not too far away. From May 7 to May 11, Portugal was powered entirely by renewable sources. During the 107 hours of 100 percent renewable energy, the country drew on hydropower, wind power, biofuels, and solar to make this green electricity dream a reality.
How did they make it work? According to the WorldWatch Institute, progressive policies played a large role. Feed-in tariffs, or guaranteed prices for renewable producers, and paying host municipalities combined to help make renewable energy cost effective. Further, the government has taken steps like altering grid infrastructure to connect easier to home solar panels. The International Energy Agency said the country’s policies have enabled them “to become a major player in the application of renewable energies.”
Portugal has been working towards developing renewable energy in their country for several years. Back between 2004 and 2009, according to WorldWatch, their “installed renewable energy capacity more than tripled.” Despite a GDP less than the EU average, Portugal’s generation and overall energy consumption of renewable energy is higher than most European countries. In 2014, they were behind only Austria, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway in terms of generating electricity from renewable energy. The Portuguese Renewable Energy Association said in 2015 a combination of renewable sources provided 48 percent of the country’s electricity.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that currently, hydropower generates 30 percent of Portugal’s electricity. About 25 percent comes from wind. Biofuels and solar play smaller roles, contributing 6.4 percent and 1.2 percent respectively to the mix.
This isn’t the first renewable energy achievement for Portugal; back in 2011 they powered the country entirely by renewable energy for a couple of hours, but the recent feat marks the great strides they’ve taken towards supplying electricity using more clean sources.