A European Country Ran 100 Percent on Renewable Energy for Four Days Straight

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Photo: Jondaar_1 via Flickr
It sounds like the kind of thing you'd hear somebody say right before adding "and it didn't die," but it's not the case here. This is actually an excellent piece of news, especially since it's not one of the countries you're probably thinking of.
When it comes to renewable energy in Europe, the leading nations are perceived to be Germany, Holland, and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (OK, Finland too). The rest haven't been so open to embracing the more eco-friendly ways of producing electricity, and so they still rely on burning coal and other fossil-based fuels.

When the financial crisis struck in 2007, one of the hardest hit countries on the Old Continent was Portugal. Its economy didn't seem strong enough to face the new challenges, the unemployment rates went up, and the country appeared to be going on a downward slope. Its reliance on tourism was felt when people suddenly became more careful with how they spent their money, and so Portugal joined the ranks of Greece or Ireland on the list of countries in the wake of financial collapse.

But the Lusitans made it through, and they are now able to register record levels of renewable energy production. Thanks to its windy coast and the fact that Portuguese citizens learned to consume less, Portugal was able to sustain the whole country's energy requirements for 107 hours straight, a new study brought forward by SolarCrunch and conducted by the National Energy Network (REN) and the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) shows.

Portugal closed all of its coal mines in 1994, but it continued to import it and use it in its power plants ever since. But the country's reliance on fossil fuels is dwindling rapidly, with the future looking very promisingly indeed. The most important source of energy comes from biomass, followed by hydropower and wind turbines.

Throughout Europe, various other records are being broken: the United Kingdom did not burn any coal for a whole day for the first time in over one hundred years, and Germany met its power demand almost entirely from its wind farms (99.3 percent on May 16 at 2:00 PM). Denmark, however, is the clear leader producing 140 percent of the energy it consumes on wind power alone.

This gives us hope for a sustainable future where most - if not all - of transportation will imply the use of electricity.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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