From: ETH Zurich
Published July 17, 2017 01:53 PM

Unbalanced wind farm planning exacerbates fluctuations

The expansion of renewable energy has been widely criticised for increasing weather-dependent fluctuations in European electricity generation. A new study shows that this is due less to the variability of weather than from a failure to consider the large-scale weather conditions across the whole continent: many European countries are unilaterally following national strategies to expand wind energy capacities without looking beyond their own backyard.

It would be better, however, for individual countries to work together and to promote the expansion of wind capacity in other European regions that are currently making very little use of wind power.  Balancing capacity across the continent would effectively minimise the extreme fluctuations caused by the varied weather conditions that currently affect wind speeds. This is the conclusion reached by a group of weather and energy researchers from ETH Zürich and Imperial College London in a new study, which has just been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Combining weather data and production capacities

The researchers conducted their study by combining Europe-wide data on large-scale weather conditions from the past 30 years with wind and solar electricity production data. This made use of the Renewables.ninja platform developed at ETH Zürich for simulating the output of Europe’s wind and solar farms based on historical weather data. This open simulation tool is available for anyone to use worldwide, as part of the effort to improve transparency and openness of science.

Read more at ETH Zurich

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