Portugal Powered By Green Energy For Over 4 Days
Green energy is on the rise, and with it the concept of a national hybrid power grid is becoming more and more of a reality. In the case of Portugal, the country’s green energy sources recently powered the entire nation for over four days recently, clocking up 107 consecutive hours where the country was solely powered by wind, solar and hydro-generated electricity.
With this renewable energy being generated so cheaply and it going straight into the national grid, customers can actually benefit financially from these new power sources. Another clean energy spike in Germany one Sunday ago saw the entire country’s power needs being covered and electricity bills hitting the negative – people were actually being paid money to use power on that day.
The European Union’s green energy deadlines and targets are moving electricity ever closer towards minimal dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to Oliver Joy, a spokesman for wind power with the Wind Europe trade association “An increased build-out of interconnectors, a reformed electricity market and political will are all essential. But with the right policies in place, wind could meet a quarter of Europe’s power needs in the next 15 years.”
Politics is intrinsically tied up within the green energy discussion – some countries are more willing to make the change and some less so, due to the way politicians may serve the interests of businesses over the environment. Here in the United Kingdom fossil fuels are still heavily subsidised – although we are starting to at least move away from coal, although progress has been slow, and the government says coal may take until 2025 to be fully phased out.
A truly ‘hybrid’ power system is achievable – a national grid with the bulk of its power coming from renewables, with a constant an energy surplus supported by non-polluting nuclear power stations in case of a shortage. However nuclear power remains controversial – old power stations are posing a bigger and bigger risk, with Belgium recently announcing a plan to provide anti-radiation pills all residents of the country after reactor safety fears.
Europe’s 2020 goal of 20% renewable energy for the entirety of the EU is absolutely achievable – more and more jobs are being created in the industry, with reports from the US suggesting solar now employs more workers than oil and gas in the states, we could start breathing more easily (no pun intended) about the fossil fuel crisis.