GB wind power in cold winters 1975-1984

A recent post gave a quantitative estimate, for the GB electricity grid, of the wind power at peak demand time expected in 2016/17 if there is a repeat of the recent coldest winters. This post extends the analysis back to the winter of 1975/76, again with particular interest in the wind power expected on the coldest (highest demand) days.

We saw in the analysis of recent winters that whenever the estimated wind power was low the synoptic chart for the day in question confirmed the estimation from the wide spacing of isobars. In this post the synoptic charts are used directly to provide a qualitative assessment of the amount of wind power expected.

First of all the coldest days were identified for the winters between 1975/76 and 1984/85, via a threshold of zero degrees C applied to the daily maximum of the Central England Temperature (HadCET) series:

hadcet1975_86

The HadCET page of this blog allows the temperatures in this period to be seen in the context of the entire HadCET Tmax record, which extends back to 1878 (this analysis still has a long way to go!). The cold spells are discussed below.

1977 January 12th: The following synoptic chart indicates that this was a calm day, and wind power at 2016/17 levels would contribute little to peak demand:

rrea00119770112

WINTER 1978/79

December 19th 1978, Light winds:

rrea00119781219

December 31st 1978, Very Windy:

rrea00119781231

January 5th 1979, Low wind power:

rrea00119790105

February 14-17 1979, varied winds, light on 17th:

rrea00119790217

WINTER 1981/82

December 10-12 1982, Light Winds:

rrea00119811210

rrea00119811211

rrea00119811212

December 16/17 1981, Light Winds:

rrea00119811216

rrea00119811217

January 7-14 1982, Variable winds, light on some cold days:

rrea00119820107

rrea00119820108

rrea00119820109

rrea00119820110

rrea00119820111

rrea00119820112

rrea00119820113

rrea00119820114

WINTER 1984/85

January 7 1985, Light Winds:

rrea00119850107

January 13-16 1985, Light to Moderate Winds:

rrea00119850113

rrea00119850114

rrea00119850115

rrea00119850116

February 9-15 1985, Moderate to Strong Winds:

rrea00119850209

rrea00119850210

rrea00119850211

rrea00119850212

rrea00119850213

rrea00119850215

Conclusions

This period contained some very cold and calm days, and the electricity system of 2016/17 and beyond will have to be able to meet their electricity demand without wind power.

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