REN recorded, on 2 January, a maximum instantaneous value of 4,532 MW in wind energy production surpassing the previous maximum of 4,453 MW, recorded on 21 November last year. This new maximum comes after having reached a new 5-year maximum in 2016 in the consumption of natural gas and electricity in Portugal.
On the same day, the daily production of wind energy also surpassed the previous record, reaching 96.7 GWh, 0.8 GWh more than the previous maximum recorded on 30 January 2015.
Over the past few years, renewable energies have increasingly been gaining significance in the energy make-up, with wind energy contributing 12,188 GWh to the system in 2016, representing 22 % of total consumption.
This significant contribution from renewable energies to the energy balance in Portugal has led REN to invest in the development of energy production forecasting for these sources, to make the most of them, integrating them into the system and avoiding wasting them.
Also on 2 January, there was a maximum in the export of electric energy with 3,646 MW, 117 MW higher than the previous maximum on 15 February.
Electricity consumption reaches new 5-year maximum
The consumption of electricity in Portugal reached, in 2016, the highest value in the last five years at 49,269 GWh, only 5.6 % below the all-time high recorded in 2010.
In December, electricity consumption grew 3.3 % year-over-year. Correcting for temperature effects and for the number of working days, the variation is slightly negative at -0.1 %. At the end of the year, consumption recorded an annual variation of 0.6 %, a value which decreases to 0.4 % when correcting for temperature and working days.
Natural Gas consumption grows in 2016
In Natural Gas, consumption recorded the highest value since 2011, reaching 11,571 GWh, only 3.4 % below the all-time high recorded in 2010. These figures reinforce the strong growth trend taking place over the last few months of the year.
In December, REN recorded a year-over-year variation of 28 %, with the electricity production segment growing by 93 % and the conventional one growing by 8.7 %. At the end of the year, the consumption of natural gas recorded an overall growth of +6.9 %, with a 39 % growth in the electricity market to make up for the 1.8 % drop in the conventional market.
The growth in consumption is related to the greater momentum of the segment concerning production of electrical energy using natural gas, which also presented its highest consumption since 2011, albeit still far from the values recorded in previous years. It should be noted that in September last year, REN recorded an all-time maximum power of 3,344 MW in the production of electricity from natural gas, with all groups of Natural Gas power plants in the network. The previous maximum was 3,176 MW, recorded in March 2011. These figures reflect the effects of the heat wave recorded in early September, coinciding with the strong energy exports.
One third of the gas consumed originates in the Sines LNG terminal, whereas the remaining two thirds entered Portugal via the interconnection pipeline with Spain (originating in North Africa). Both sets of infrastructure belong to REN, with their management being among the most important activities for the company.
These records show the essential role which the national Natural Gas facilities have in ensuring that consumptions are met, particularly in the electricity sector. These are planned and designed to meet the consumers' concurrent requirements, safeguarding their full provision without restrictions to consumption, thus ensuring the execution of the production activities which depend on them.