Energy and climate change are intrinsically connected. Electricity generation in particular is the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The greatest share of the world’s electricity generation still comes from the burning of finite reserves of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Upon combustion, these fuels release tremendous amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere, which, among other things, contribute to an increased greenhouse effect and the subsequent changes in our climate. However, in countries like Portugal that reality is changing.
CNN recently published an article which showcases the result of a comprehensive Portuguese renewable energy strategy that is now bearing fruit. In May 2016, for more than 4 consecutive days, Portugal was powered entirely by renewable energy, using a combination of wind, solar and pumped hydro storage. For a total of 107 hours all of the country’s electricity needs were supplied without emitting any greenhouse gasses.
In addition to the obvious economic benefits for a country that relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, this step shows that Portugal is on a clear path to achieving the ambitious commitments made in the Paris Agreement, signed on 22nd of April 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York.