Renewable generation supplied 59% of electricity consumption in Portugal in 2021. Wind energy accounted for 26%, followed by hydropower with 23%, biomass with 7%, and photovoltaics with 3.5%. Photovoltaics, although still the least significant, recorded a sharp year-on-year increase of 37%. Non-renewable generation supplied 31% of consumption, split between natural gas with 29% and coal with less than 2%, having its last plant closed at the end of November. The import balance supplied the remaining approximately 10%. The hydropower capability index stands at 0.93 (historical average of 1) and the wind-power capability index at 1.01 (historical average of 1).
Consumption grew by 1.4%, or 1.7% when correcting for temperature and working days, but was still 1.7% short of the figure recorded in 2019. Total consumption of natural gas in 2021, when compared to the same period of the previous year, recorded a negative variation of 4.6%, resulting from decreases of 1.5% in the conventional segment and of about 10% in the electricity production segment. The consumption recorded in 2021 was around 6% below that recorded in 2019.
In December, electricity consumption fell by 1% year-on-year, a figure that increases to 1.8%, when correcting for the effects of temperature and the number of working days. This month, conditions remained very negative for hydropower generation, with its corresponding capability index not exceeding 0.42 (historical average of 1), unlike for wind generation, which recorded an especially high capability factor of 1.37 (historical average of 1). Renewable generation supplied 66% of consumption, while non-renewable generation supplied 26%. The remaining 8% consisted of imported energy.
In the natural gas market, the trend seen in recent months continued in December, still constrained by current market conditions. Thus, the conventional segment recorded a year-on-year contraction of 18%, while overall consumption fell by only 1% due to the positive behaviour of the electricity production segment, which recorded a year-on-year growth of 50%, almost offsetting the reduction in the conventional segment.