Doubt over renewables statistics as government accused of inflating proportions

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Portuguese environmental association Quercus has accused the government of inflating the proportion of electricity demand met by renewable energy. Prime Minister José Sócrates said in early January that renewable energy was supplying around 42% of demand, but Quercus says the percentage is 26.7%, citing recent data from Portuguese national grid operator Rede Eléctrica Nacional and the Directorate-General of Energy and Geology. Electricity from renewable energy sources dropped from 30.7% in 2007 to 26.7% last year due to a decline in hydroelectric power -- though wind power grew 42% to account for about 40% of electricity production from renewables in 2008, according to the directorate. The base year for Portugal's renewable energy target is 1997, when hydroelectric production was 22% above average due to heavy rain. The government opted to adjust the recent renewable energy statistics because 2007 and 2008 were dry years. Quercus says, however, that the method used was not made public and calls an adjustment of renewable contribution of 26.7% to 42% mathematically questionable.

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