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Energy production from biomass and photovoltaics with new historical highs


Energy production using biomass, as well as photovoltaic generation, reached new all-time highs in February. During the month, the production of energy using biomass reached its highest power ever, with 415 MW, and photovoltaic generation is reaching higher values as new parks come into operation. The maximum power of the photovoltaic installations this month reached 568 MW, which became the maximum value recorded in the Portuguese national system.
In February, electricity consumption recorded a year-on-year change of 0.3%. Correcting for the leap year effect, the change would be negative, but the recorded temperatures, considerably above the normal values for the month, took the corrected change considering temperature and number of working days to 1.4%. At the end of February, the annual change stands at 0.6%, or 2.1% when correcting for temperature and working days.
Rainfall was again low in February, with the hydropower capability index at 0.84 (historical average of 1). In wind production, conditions were particularly negative, recording an index of 0.63 (historical average of 1), which was the lowest ever for the month of February (REN records since 2001). Nevertheless, renewable production fuelled 66% of domestic consumption, non-renewable production accounted for 31%, while the remaining 3% were supplied using imported energy. 
In the year to date, the hydropower capability index stood at 0.92 (historical average of 1), whereas the wind-power capability index was 0.81 (historical average of 1). In this period, renewable production supplied 67% of consumption, broken down into 38% for hydropower, 23% for wind power, 5.7% for biomass, and 1.6% for photovoltaics. Non-renewable production supplied 33% of consumption, with natural gas accounting for 31% and coal remaining in residual use. The balance for the first two months of the year favoured exports and amounted to about 4% of the domestic consumption.
Domestic consumption of natural gas increased 15.1% in February, boosted by the segment of the electricity market, which grew 87% due to the competitiveness of natural gas production compared to coal production. In the opposite direction and despite the leap year, the conventional segment recorded a year-on-year drop of 4.1%, affected by above-average temperatures.  In the first two months of the year, the consumption of natural gas recorded an increase of 16.5%, stemming from a 73% rise in the electricity market and from a 1.8% decline in the conventional market.