Why Stop At 4 Days?

Portugal has hit a milestone in renewable energy production.

Portugal kept its lights on with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days last week in a clean energy milestone revealed by data analysis of national energy network figures.

Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday, the analysis says.

News of the zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that clean energy had powered almost all its electricity needs on Sunday 15 May, with power prices turning negative at several times in the day – effectively paying consumers to use it.

That’s great! Congratulations Portugal! But, why only four days? The article fails to address this question. Was it an experiment, to see if it could be done? Or was it that Portugal had a slight decrease in energy demands during those four days, for whatever reason, and so all of its energy demands happened to be covered by their renewable energy sources alone?

One way or another, keep it up! There may be some hope after all.


  1. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It seems highly likely that what they mean by “renewable energy alone” probably means “renewable energy as the sole production inside the geographic bounds of the country, plus an inter-country power link where the net energy transfer was 0 or where the country had a net energy export”.

    If I’m right, and I am probably am (I still need to find the original source, which I think is in Portuguese, and manage through with google translate), the problem is that this is not sustainable going forwards. If every country did that, then there would be long periods where no one would be producing enough power because of common mode failures like night, periods of clouds over large areas aka weather, periods of little to no wind over large areas aka weather, long periods of small amounts of sunshine aka winter at high latitudes.

    It is generally wrong that big enough grid interconnects can fix this. Look at the historical wind data.

    It is very wrong that energy storage can fix this. It cannot – barring some radical breakthrough.
    It would be irresponsible to delay implementing a fix for global warming until the point at which some unspecified radical breakthrough in energy storage happens.

    Also, from google translate, I get this:

    The renewable electricity production sources and the Portuguese electricity grid management capacity exceeded a difficult test against a background of tiny interconnections, especially between Spain and France, managing the country’s consumption needs have been guaranteed 100% from sources production from renewable sources and still export a significant percentage of electricity, either exclusively renewable sources or supplemented in some cases by non-renewable sources.

    What’s that last part supposed to mean? Why are they exporting energy from non-renewables during this 107 hour period? Something smells fishy. I suspect there’s some pretty strong greenwashing going on.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      From what I read in the articles, they were saying that with the right infrastructure in place, they have enough sun and wind in Portugal to both guarantee to cover Portugal’s energy needs AND produce extra energy that they can sell to other countries… a bold statement, but intriguing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *