01 April 2024

Renewables supply 91% of electricity consumption in March

Renewable energy production supplied 91% of Portugal's electricity consumption during the month of March. This marks the third consecutive month with values above 80%, following 88% in February and 81% in January. It's worth noting that in 2023, renewables accounted for 61% of Portugal's electricity consumption, totaling 31.2 TWh, the highest value ever in the national system.

In the first three months of this year, renewable production accounted for 89% of consumption, the highest value for this quarter since 1978 when the national system still didn't have a relevant thermal component. In this quarter, the hydroelectric productivity index stood at 1.38, wind at 1.07, and solar at 0.87 (historical averages of 1). Hydroelectric power accounted for 47% of consumption, wind 31%, photovoltaic 6%, and biomass 5%. Natural gas production supplied 11% of consumption, while the foreign exchange balance was slightly export-oriented, equivalent to about 1% of national consumption.

In March, electricity consumption recorded a year-on-year growth of 1.6%, or 2.9% when corrected for temperature and number of working days, while in the quarter there was a rise of 1.1%, or 2.6% when corrected for temperature and working days. This month, hydroelectric power recorded a productivity index of 1.78 (historical average of 1) and a new maximum power delivered to the grid of 7280 MW on the 11th. The wind productivity index was 1.15 while solar recorded a productivity index of 0.86 (historical averages of 1). The monthly foreign exchange balance was export-oriented, which happened for the first time this year, equivalent to about 11% of national consumption.

In the natural gas market, there was a year-on-year decrease in March of 5.8%. A variation motivated by the behavior of the electricity production segment, which had a year-on-year decrease of 24% due to the high availability of renewable energy. In the conventional segment, which covers the remaining consumers, consumption remained practically in line with the same month of the previous year (a decrease of 0.1%). The supply of the national system was almost entirely made from the Sines LNG terminal, with the exchange balance through the interconnection with Spain being very limited.

At the end of the quarter, the annual accumulated gas consumption registered a year-on-year decrease of 10%, the lowest consumption since 2014. The electricity production segment contracted by 43% compared to the same period last year, while the conventional segment, covering the remaining consumers, grew by 5.9%.