The United Kingdom and large parts of northern Europe could become windier if global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study.
The results suggest that wind could be a more important source of energy generation than previously thought, with stronger winds across the U.K. A research team concludes that there could be a 10 percent increase in U.K. onshore wind energy generation, enough to power 700,000 homes every year based on current installed capacity.
To evaluate potential changes in European wind power generation in a 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer world, researchers from British Antarctic Survey, the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol combined data from 282 onshore wind turbines collected over 11 years with climate model data from the HAPPI project. The study did not consider offshore wind energy generation potential.
Across northern Europe, the results suggest that large areas of Germany, Poland and Lithuania could become more viable for wind power. The largest increases in wind could be seen in the U.K., along with marked seasonal shifts in wind.
Nine months of the year could see U.K. wind turbines generating electricity at levels currently only seen in winter, the researchers say. Future summers could see the largest increase in wind generation.
In Europe, wind energy currently accounts for 18 percent of total generating capacity. The European Commission's 2030 energy strategy set a renewables target of at least 27 percent.