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Wind power in the UK can meet high electricity demands in winter, finds new study 20th June


Researchers have found that wind power in the UK generally increases with demand during the year; whilst wind power may drop in cold and still winter conditions, it increases during the coldest weather periods.

The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, analysed electricity demands and average wind speed variations between 1979-2013 and found a seasonal pattern relating to consumer demand. This pattern is explained with the UK’s seasons being typically calmer and warming in summer and cooler, windier conditions in autumn and spring. Whilst high demand days do not always have high wind power, the results offer a positive outlook on wind power during high electricity demand months in the winter.

Dr Andrew Ross, associate professor of dynamic meteorology at the University of Leeds, notes that this is “clearly good news for the National Grid”. Dr Ross continues to note that whilst variability in wind production may hinder its ability to meet the UK’s high electricity demands in winter, offshore wind is less affected by seasonal variability due to the high heat capacity of the sea. This could lead to offshore wind contributing towards aiding the security of electricity supply to the UK.

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Photo credit: Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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