According to the ZERO-System Sustainable Land Association and Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, Portuguese electricity consumption was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45 AM on Saturday 7 May until 5.45 PMthe following Wednesday.

EU Renewable Energy Directive’s (RED) targets have been clearly spurring Portugal’s clean energy production in the last years. In 2015, the wind was responsible for providing 22% of the energy consumed in Portugal. All clean and renewable sources accounted for 48% of the nation’s yearly power consumption.

Despite the national government cutting out support schemes for enhancing wind capacity from 2012, Portugal managed to add 550MW of wind capacity between 2013 and 2016. Such capacity expansion encourages industry stakeholders to keep a close eye on exportation prospects within Europe and beyond.

This comes on the tail of another low carbon landmark in Germany.

Solar and wind power peaked at 2 PM local time on May 15, allowing renewable sources to supply 45.5 gigawatts as demand was 45.8 gigawatts, according to provisional data by Berlin-based research centre Agora Energiewende.

Power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods on May 18, dropping as low as minus £38 (50 €) a megawatt/hour. Thus, commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity.

Known as Energiewende, the German government energy strategy was adopted in 2010 and has been successful when it comes to its general targets. Renewable sources accounted for nearly one-third of the electricity consumed in Germany in 2015. The country is now the world’s largest solar market. Germany’s carbon emissions in 2014 were 27% lower than 1990 levels.

However, greenhouse gas emissions peaked this year after several years of decline. This is due to the rigidness of the current system for power suppliers and consumers. Unlike the gas power plants, nuclear and coal plants can’t be quickly shut down, so they went on running and had to pay to sell power into the grid for several hours, while industrial customers such as refineries and foundries earned money by consuming electricity. This hinders the opportunity to rely exclusively on renewable energy capacity to meet energy demands.

Policy development still plays a key role to make steps forward to energy transition. An eye has to be kept on the outcome of the current process for a new EU Renewable Energy Directive’s (RED) over post-2020 period.

The German government is about to reboot the national energy strategy Energiewende. This is critical as other EU countries mirror to this in view of the way to implement their strategic plans.

– Joan Isus, Correspondent (Business)