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Portugal hits all-time record for natural gas exports in March


The National System reached a new monthly maximum for natural gas exports in March with 828 GWh, compared with the 505 GWh reached on April 2020, as well as the highest ever daily value with 47.7 GWh, on the 24th, which compares with the previous 42 GWh of 21 January 2020. During this period, the national system was supplied predominantly from the Sines LNG Terminal.
With regard to consumption, the natural gas market recorded a negative year-on-year variation of 6.2% in March, due to the drop in the power production segment, which recorded a year-on-year contraction of 23%, due to the greater availability of renewable energy this year. The conventional segment maintained the same year-on-year value.
At the end of the quarter, the accumulated annual consumption of natural gas showed a negative variation of 14%, with a growth of 1.6% in the conventional segment and a decrease of 45% in the power production segment. 
Electricity consumption recorded a negative year-on-year variation of 1.7% in March, or 2.2% when correcting for temperature and working days. At the end of the quarter, the evolution is also negative, with a drop of 0.5%, or 1.6% when correcting for temperature effects and working days.
Also in March, the hydropower capability index was very close to the average value, at 1.03 (historical average of 1). In wind generation, conditions were especially unfavourable, with the corresponding capability index standing at 0.80 (historical average of 1). Renewable production supplied 78% of consumption (including net exports) and non-renewable supplied the remaining 22%. The foreign trade balance was virtually zero.
For the period from January to March, the hydropower capability index was 1.28 (historical average of 1) and the wind-power capability index was 1.02 (historical average of 1). During this period, renewable production supplied 79% of consumption (including net exports), broken down into 42% for hydropower, 29% for wind, 6% for biomass and 2% for photovoltaics. Although yet without a very significant share, photovoltaics continues to grow, reaching this month, on the 21st, its highest peak ever with 750 MW. Non-renewable production supplied the remaining 21% of consumption, mainly from natural gas. Coal accounted for less than 2%. Foreign trade balance favoured exports, amounting to around 4% of domestic consumption.