The consumption of electricity showed a year-over-year growth of 9.7% in March, a variation that was due mainly to a sharp temperature deviation from the usual values for this month. The accumulated annual variation for the first quarter of the year is now 4.7%, or 3.1% when correcting for temperature and working days.
After a period of 17 consecutive months with flows below average values, the hydrological conditions are now reversed, with a hydrological index of 2.22 (historical average equal to 1), which became the highest ever value in REN's records (since 1971) for the month of March. In wind production, there were also unusual conditions, with the corresponding capability index standing at 1.54 (historical average equal to 1), the second highest ever for this month (REN's records since 2001). These conditions led renewable production to reach a number equivalent to around 99% of the domestic consumption, or 83% of consumption + exporting balance, which is the highest value since February 2014. This month, renewable production exceeded consumption in almost 60% of the time. The foreign trade balance is again strongly favouring exports, amounting to around 19% of consumption.
At the end of the first quarter, the hydropower capability index now stands at 0.93 (historical average equal to 1), and the wind-power capability index is 1.18 (historical average equal to 1). In this period, renewable production supplied 61% of consumption, 31% with wind power, 24% with hydroelectric power, 5% with biomass and, finally, 1.1% through photovoltaics. Non-renewable production supplied the remaining 39% of consumption, with natural gas accounting for 22% and coal for 17%. The foreign trade balance favoured exports, amounting to around 6% of the domestic consumption.
In the natural gas market, with the reversal of the weather conditions, the growth trend that was being observed was also reversed this month, recording a year-over-year decrease of 19%, despite the strong growth of 5.9% in the conventional segment. At the end of the quarter, the consumption of natural gas presents a negative variation of 6.2% year over year, stemming from a growth of 1.2% in the conventional segment and from a reduction of 21% in the electricity market.