A comparison of U.K. wind power availability with electricity demand in winter shows that as temperatures fall and electricity demand increases, average wind energy supply is reduced. However, on the very coldest days, with highest electricity demand, wind energy supply starts to recover.
The nature of the weather patterns affecting Great Britain is 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.
Researchers from U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College London and the University of Reading found that during the highest 5 percent of energy demand days, one-third of these days produce more wind power than the winter average.
Deploying turbines across the U.K. would make the most of the varied wind patterns associated with the coldest days – maximizing power supply during high demand conditions.
The research also highlights the risk of concurrent wide-scale high electricity demand and low wind power supply over many parts of Europe. Neighboring countries may therefore struggle to provide additional capacity to the U.K. when the U.K.’s own demand is high and wind power low.