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Implications of the North Atlantic Oscillation for a UK–Norway renewable power system

Ely, C. R., Brayshaw, D. J. ORCID:, Methven, J. ORCID:, Cox, J. and Pearce, O. (2013) Implications of the North Atlantic Oscillation for a UK–Norway renewable power system. Energy Policy, 62. pp. 1420-1427. ISSN 0301-4215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.037


UK wind-power capacity is increasing and new transmission links are proposed with Norway, where hydropower dominates the electricity mix. Weather affects both these renewable resources and the demand for electricity. The dominant large-scale pattern of Euro-Atlantic atmospheric variability is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), associated with positive correlations in wind, temperature and precipitation over northern Europe. The NAO's effect on wind-power and demand in the UK and Norway is examined, focussing on March when Norwegian hydropower reserves are low and the combined power system might be most susceptible to atmospheric variations. The NCEP/NCAR meteorological reanalysis dataset (1948–2010) is used to drive simple models for demand and wind-power, and ‘demand-net-wind’ (DNW) is estimated for positive, neutral and negative NAO states. Cold, calm conditions in NAO− cause increased demand and decreased wind-power compared to other NAO states. Under a 2020 wind-power capacity scenario, the increase in DNW in NAO− relative to NAO neutral is equivalent to nearly 25% of the present-day average rate of March Norwegian hydropower usage. As the NAO varies on long timescales (months to decades), and there is potentially some skill in monthly predictions, we argue that it is important to understand its impact on European power systems.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Energy Research
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:33770


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