In addition, hydroelectricity, which is used heavily by the Portuguese state, is an incredibly useful source of clean energy – if you’ve got it, that is. Not every nation aiming for low-carbon electrical grids have access to the topographic features or engineering funds and abilities required for hydroelectricity.
Costa Rica, for example, does have it; plenty of green-focused nations in Europe, however, do not. It’s also worth pointing out that extremely heavy rainfall hit Portugal in March, which indubitably filled its hydroelectric reservoirs up to optimum levels.
The other thing worth mentioning is that electricity demands fluctuate, on a seasonal basis – typically, demand is higher in the winter months than the summer months – and a monthly/weekly/daily one. Indeed, REN does note that March experienced a “sharp temperature deviation from the usual values” which would have affected demand.
The real test of Portugal’s renewable electricity sector, then, will be when the cold revisits the Iberian Peninsula toward the end of the year. If renewables still outpace fossil fuels, then we know we’re far more likely to be onto a winner.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that renewable energy sources are proliferating in Portugal, and that’s certainly laudable. The same clean energy campaigners suggested in the report that by 2040, the nation’s electrical grid will rely on nothing but renewables and a smidgen of natural gas. This is perhaps possible, but the future of the sector remains somewhat unpredictable.
In the meantime, then, let’s give Portugal a cautiously optimistic round of applause.