Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Accurate wind data 'cuts pollution'

A new, more accurate system of forecasting wind power and the energy from wind farms will help cut carbon pollution and save money, the National Grid has said.

The company is responsible for balancing the supply and demand on the country’s electricity networks and, with growing amounts of energy being generated by wind, the ability to predict when the wind will blow is becoming increasingly important.

By 2020 onshore and offshore wind is expected to generate 28GW of power, almost a third of the UK electricity supply.

Because wind is intermittent, having more accurate forecasts of wind farm output will help the UK make the most of this renewable resource and reduce the amount of energy needed for reserves, such as gas.

Less reliance on fossil fuels will mean less carbon is emitted, the National Grid said.

More accurate wind forecasts will reduce the need for “balancing” steps to ensure electricity demand is met, which cost the National Grid £280M last year and are set to rise in cost to £500M a year by 2020.

The new system produces more forecasts for each location and looks at more sites and regional zones. It also produces the forecasts in several ways and has a lower margin of error than the old system, the National Grid said.

Wind forecasting is critical to predicting wind farm output. The amount of electricity generated rises from nothing, at very low wind speeds, to a maximum output until the turbines cut out in high winds.

Alan Smart, National Grid energy operations manager, said: “At the moment there is about 5GW of installed wind generation in the UK and this set to grow by about 2GW a year for the next five years. Hence, it’s becoming more important for us to be able to predict output within a quite narrow spectrum of weather conditions.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • But according to Reading University, solar activity induced jetstream changes have led to significant reduced annual average UK wind speeds over the last few yearsand particularly in areas of extensive Wind Farms in the southern half of the UK. This ongoing reduction in available wind energy will reduce outputs from existing Turbines and decrease the efficiency or all new Turbines and, according to Reading, will continue to reduce for 40 years or so until the current period of lower solar activity ends!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs