UK wind ‘weathers’ cold snaps
Study finds sector is not as sensitive to winter conditions as thought
UK wind power is not as sensitive to cold weather as previously thought, a new study has found.
Work was conducted by scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College London and the University of Reading and has been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The research compared wind power availability with electricity demand in winter.
It noted that during winter in the UK, warmer periods are often windier, while colder periods are more calm, due to the prevailing weather patterns.
Therefore, in winter as temperatures fall, and electricity demand increases, average wind energy supply reduces, the researchers said.
However, on the very coldest days, with highest electricity demand, wind energy supply starts to recover, the study found.
It also said the results suggest that during high demand periods offshore wind provides a more secure supply compared to onshore, as offshore wind is sustained at higher levels.
Imperial College London chair of the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment and one of the paper’s authors Brian Hoskins said: “A wind power system distributed around the UK is not as sensitive to still cold winter days as often imagined.
“The average drop in generation is only a third and it even picks up for the days with the very highest electricity demand.”