Electricity consumption in Portugal rose 9.4% year-on-year in March, or 8.3% when correcting for the effects of temperature and number of working days. At the end of the quarter, the annual evolution recorded a positive variation of 1.3%, or 2.5% when correcting for temperature and working days.
This month, despite the rainfall, the hydropower capability index stood at 0.43 (historical average of 1), as a result of the prolonged period of drought. In wind power, the regime was more favourable, with the corresponding capability index recording 1.11 (historical average of 1), while in photovoltaics it stood at 0.80 (historical average of 1). Renewable generation supplied 57% of consumption, while non-renewables supplied 30%. The remaining 13% consisted of imported energy.
In the first quarter, the hydropower capability index was 0.30 (historical average of 1), the wind-power capability index was 0.93 (historical average of 1), and the solar capability index stood at 1.05 (historical average of 1). During this period, renewable generation supplied 49% of consumption, split between wind with 28%, hydroelectric with 12%, biomass with 6%, and photovoltaics with 3.5%. Generation from natural gas supplied 30% of consumption, while the import balance supplied the remaining 21%.
The natural gas market recorded a year-on-year growth of 7.7% in March due to the performance of the electricity generation segment, which showed an increase of more than 100%, still due to the reduced availability of renewable energy, contrary to what had occurred in the previous year's corresponding period. In the conventional segment, which covers the remaining consumers, the strong contraction trend that has been recorded continues, especially for large industrial consumers, with a negative year-on-year variation of 21%. The supply was carried out entirely from the Sines LNG Terminal, with exports via the interconnection with Spain equivalent to nearly 7% of domestic consumption this month.
At the end of the quarter, the accumulated annual consumption of natural gas recorded a variation of 6.6%, stemming from an increase of 118% in the power production segment, and a reduction of 24% in the conventional segment. In the power generation segment, the consumption recorded was the highest ever for the first quarter.