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The relationship between wind power, electricity demand and winter weather patterns in Great Britain

Thornton, H. E., Scaife, A. A., Hoskins, B. J. and Brayshaw, D. J. ORCID: (2017) The relationship between wind power, electricity demand and winter weather patterns in Great Britain. Environmental Research Letters, 12 (6). 064017. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa69c6


Wind power generation in Great Britain has increased markedly in recent years. However due to its intermittency its ability to provide power during periods of high electricity demand has been questioned. Here we characterise the winter relationship between electricity demand and the availability of wind power. Although a wide range of wind power capacity factors is seen for a given demand, the average capacity factor reduces by a third between low and high demand. However, during the highest demand average wind power increases again, due to strengthening easterly winds. The nature of the weather patterns affecting Great Britain are responsible for this relationship. High demand is driven by a range of high pressure weather types, each giving cold conditions, but variable wind power availability. Offshore wind power is sustained at higher levels and offers a more secure supply compared to that onshore. However, during high demand periods in Great Britain neighbouring countries may struggle to provide additional capacity due to concurrent low temperatures and low wind power availability.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:71293
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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